Dear Sandra, Q: Thank you so much for the prompt reply and all the info. I do have some questions. I noticed that you do not get much into TMD and sleep apnea. Why is this?
A: It has been determined that that is not within the scope of orofacial myology to teach how to “treat” these conditions lest someone overstep their bounds and cause physical damage to someone as a result of using such exercises, etc. However, we do review the screening assessments for these and other conditions so that you will know when to refer, to whom to refer, and understand how these relate to orofacial myology treatment and when it is ok to take patients who display symptoms such as these.
Q: What ethical boundaries should be consdiered?
A: We should never treat a patient for something for which we have no specific training or experience.
Q: Is there a need for any of that when one is practicing OM?
A: Orofacial myology offers a lot of space for helping patients in areas where we are trained and competent. There are instances where “regular” orofacial myology treatment has brought decreased pain to TMD sufferers, but that was a fortunate by-product, not the actual target. And we certainly would not want a patient to think we “cure” sleep apnea, TMD, etc.
Q: One last question, when you practice on your own as a QOM what kind of insurance is needed (malpractice, etc…)?
A: That varies state to state and country to country for RDHs. That is one area that is more challenging for the RDH than for the SLP. I would be remiss if I told you anything specific since it depends upon where you live.
Q: How difficult is it to get started in this field and is this covered in your course?
A: I will give you my thoughts, based on the experiences of those RDHs whom I have taught and their subsequent feedback to me. For some it has been moderately difficult, as it was for me when I started out. I had to contact many orthodontists and other health professionals for many months. I ended up building a very fine orofacial myology department within my clinic, but I worked hard to get there. The benefits were very good. Some RDHs have a dentist who wants them to work with them; that’s not a difficult way to get started, but many want to go out on their own as you do. Some start with thumb sucking elimination programs and contact MDs as well as DDSs and others and slowly build from there. The best result I have personally seen is when an RDH and an SLP work together, for example if the SLP already has an office and the RDH goes for the training for orofacial myology. During my course, we discuss these things in greater detail, and you will get access to sample forms, but believe me, it won’t make you an expert or make everything smooth when you have to set up an office. It is a lot of work to do it, but I think the rewards are fantastic. I have never regretted it and I have gotten great joy from practicing it. I hope this has been helpful and that I have answered most of your questions.