What is an Oral Mechanism Exam?

Enrichment Therapies

August 24, 2023

oral mechanism exam

By: Kaylie Wright, M.A., CCC-SLP

An Oral Mechanism (Oral Mech) exam is done to assess the structures and function of the mouth in relation to speech and feeding/swallowing. An oral mech exam often looks at the face, tongue, jaw, lips, teeth, top and bottom of the mouth, and tonsils. The examining speech-language pathologist (SLP) will look at the anatomy as well as the function of these structures to determine if and how they may be contributing to speech and feeding difficulties. 

What Should You Expect From an Oral Mechanism Exam?

An oral mech exam often consists of pictures and videos of the mouth and surrounding structures. It often takes 10 – 15 minutes to complete, depending on the child. The examining SLP will likely need the child to follow directions to be able to get a good understanding of the function of the oral structures. 

Once the exam is completed, the therapist will write up a report, often with pictures, and explain the findings. 

What May Be Found During an Oral Mechanism Exam?

Everyone is different and oral structures and functions are no exception to this. This is why it is important to have a qualified professional complete an oral mechanism exam. 

Some common areas that are found during an oral mech are as follows: 

  • Oral motor dysfunction
  • Tethered oral tissues (tongue, lip, cheeks)
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Narrow palate
  • Sensitive gag reflex 

The examining SLP will be able to go into detail about what is found and what to do with the new information. 

Schedule a Screening With ETLC Today

Located in the Iowa City and Des Moines areas, we provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring. Our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. If you have concerns about your child’s speech or feeding, please contact us for a free screening or an evaluation!


740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317



5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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