Q: What is the difference between “tongue thrust” and orofacial myology?
A: Tongue thrust refers to one of many symptoms of an orofacial myological disorder. We used to think that the thrusting of the tongue during the actual swallow was responsible for the open bite or malocclusion often seen in conjunction with orofacial myological disorders. We now know that the resting postures of the tongue, lips, and mandible are the critical criteria to address. Since “tongue thrust” means different things to different professionals (for example, to a speech pathologist, it refers to a lisp), it is best to describe the condition as an orofacial myological disorder rather than focusing on one common symptom such as the thrust we see during a brief swallow.
Q: Should I send my “tongue thrust” patients to a speech pathologist?
A: Speech pathologists do not automatically receive training about orofacial myology in their undergraduate or graduate education. In fact, it is quite rare to find any university that teaches any aspect of this specialty area. Thus you will not necessarily solve your problems by sending them to any speech pathologist arbitrarily. Those who are Qualified Orofacial Myologists are the suggested speech pathologists to retain. The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) has determined criteria for members wishing to treat orofacial myology clients.
Q: I have heard that an RDH can offer “tongue thrust” treatment. Is that true?
A: Yes, if they receive training and are determined to be qualified.
Q: Are any other professionals eligible to become Qualified in Orofacial Myology?
A: In addition to Speech Pathologists and Dental Hygienists, Dentists are also eligible for Qualification. They have the opportunity to become QOM or QOM-D.
Q: How can my practice benefit from referring patients for orofacial myology?
A: To learn of the benefits of orofacial myology and the various conditions for which you would refer patients for treatment, see the article by Dr. Robert M. Mason, DMD, PhD, at: