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Readers since 1/6/99

Editorial

I had planned to write another editorial, but my mind was changed by an e-mail I received this month. I have been in the practice of working with orofacial myofunctional disorders for over 40 years. One would think that by now there would be a better understanding of functional disorders by most of the members of the dental profession , but this does not seem to be the case.

The e-mail concerned an orthodontic patient who was on her third set of prongs to correct a tongue thrust. Not only did the prongs not correct the tongue thrust but they also had a derogatory effect on the patient's speech. She reported a very sore tongue.

Teaching the patient the proper tongue and lip position and a normal swallowing sequence without the use of pain inflicting devices would seem logical to me. In most cases the patient has no idea as to what the normal function should be.

One can not fault the orthodontist, for this author has found that in most cases the dental community has had little or no formal training of orofacial functional disorders. It is time that our educational institutions recognize that the patient with myofunctional disorders should be trained in the proper method of mastication and deglutition.