Response provided by Dr. Robert Mason Thank you for your question regarding the effectiveness of myofunctional therapy with stroke victims. I appreciate this opportunity to communicate with you. The short answer to your question is that there are no current data to suggest that MFT should play a role in the rehabilitation of stroke victims. The larger issue involved is the training of those who work with stroke victims. This is not an appropriate area of clinical endeavor for a dental hygienist. Some speech-language pathologists who work in hospital or rehabilitation centers have received appropriate training in their academic programs to participate on a medical team in addressing the speech and swallowing patterns of stroke victims. There is a strong and active group within the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that focuses specifically on dysphagia. As you may be aware, the swallowing issues with dysphagic patients involve primarily the pharyngeal stage of swallowing rather than the oral stage. The potential problem of aspiration of food and liquids is a serious concern with dysphagic patients, and the evaluation process involves cineradiography and other x-ray imaging techniques to properly assess such patients. As a beginning myofunctional clinician, I encourage you to pursue a practice, especially initially, that involves traditional orofacial myofunctional disorders. This would include problems with sucking habits and tongue and lip postures (which are the primary link to the development of malocclusions), and tongue thrusting, which can be a contributing factor. Orofacial myofunctional therapy has been recast recently as orofacial rest posture therapy. While the swallowing aspect is better known to the public and is often over-taught as a cause of malocclusion, honing your skills as a new clinician should focus specifically on rest postures.
RDH orofacial myologist working with stroke patients
Tagged under: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, cineradiography, development of malocclusions, Dr. Robert Mason, dysphagia, myofunctional therapy, myofunctional therapy with stroke victims, orofacial rest posture therapy, pharyngeal stage of swallowing, rehabilitation of stroke victims, speech and swallowing patterns of stroke victims, stroke victims, sucking habits, swallowing issues, tongue and lip postures, tongue thrusting