An Open Response on the Other Side of a “Dubious” Fix to Oral Posture
By 1925 there were more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and researched publications regarding myofunctional therapy, a therapy that nearly 100 years later has faced much criticism. Led by the negative experience of a woman and various social media posts where desired outcomes did not match existing results, a minimal amount of research and some chosen interview quotes, a viral article has surfaced causing many to question the motives and intent of involved dental and medical professionals.
Myofunctional therapy has been available for study through various professional and private organizations since the 1960s. Since then while the field has seen tremendous growth in the 21st century, there are still less than 1% of all eligible licensed professionals whom have taken an introductory or certification course. Many dental professionals are uncertain of what exactly myofunctional therapy is, despite it’s origins stemming from Dr. Alfred Rogers a prominent dentist and student of the father of orthodontics, Dr. Edward Angle. This has inhibited the funding and interest required to establish a set of protocols and standardized procedures required in the United States of America to replicate the success of other countries.
Prominently referenced by Dr. Eric Kezirian (also featured and interviewed for the article) in his SleepDoctor blog is the substantial and respected amount of research done on obstructive sleep apnea in aiding patients to decrease their apnea hypopnea index, or AHI. Post graduate programs have been created in universities within Brazil and a standardized method of treatment established. When studies are performed under these circumstances their results are regarded to be valid. However, a variety of methodologies, institutions, loose regulation, and lack of standardization in the United States serves as a rational reason to negate studies done within these borders. Surprisingly, this was not noted as a reason to doubt the validity of myofunctional therapy in the now viral article on The Atlantic.
Author and psychologist Adam Grant states, “If two people always agree, it’s a sign that at least one of them isn’t thinking critically-or speaking candidly. Differences of opinion don’t have to be threats. They can be opportunities to learn. Intellectual friction isn’t a relationship bug. It’s a feature of education.” There is much selective truth in the article and reality that lack of standardization does cause for discrediting current methods. As a myofunctional therapist I encourage others to take an objective re-read of the article and consider the truths in addition to the flaws. This is our opportunity to learn and the establish a better baseline of trust within the general public.
Differenced of opinion don’t have to be threats. They can be opportunities to learn.Adam Grant
The International Association of Airway Hygienists (IAAH) has actively been seeking ways to correct this and establish a much-needed accrediting board for the safety of practitioners and integrity of patient services. Myofunctional therapy, especially practiced within the dental field, should maintain a higher level of criteria to match those of our successful counterparts in Brazil and Australia. I encourage anyone interested to join the IAAH and participate in the board meetings where this discussion and shift to establish equity in the field for dental providers is ongoing. We are a group of professionals willing to take this intellectual friction and stimulate positive change for a future where we are no longer deemed dubious, instead profound alternative health providers.