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Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy in Dental Hygiene: A Survey of Dental Hygienists and Dental Hygiene Program Directors

1 January 2016


Research shows that dental hygienists may have limited knowledge regarding orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT), and that there is a need and desire for further education on this topic. The purpose of this study was to assess findings from a survey distributed to Washington County, Oregon, dental hygienists regarding their knowledge and perceptions of OMT, as well as assess the findings from a survey to Oregon dental hygiene program directors regarding education on orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) and OMT within the dental hygiene curriculum.

A 13­question anonymous survey and 6­question anonymous survey were developed and approved by the Pacific University Institutional Review Board. The 14­question electronic survey was emailed to the president of the Washington County Dental Hygienists’ Association, who forwarded it to all association members. The 6­question electronic survey was emailed directly to dental hygiene program directors in Oregon. Reminder emails were sent to both groups.

The response rate for WCDHA was 24% (n=63), and 100% (n=5) for the program directors. Fifty­seven percent (n=34) of those surveyed for the WCDHA were currently working in private practice, and most had been working either 0­5 years (n=22) or over 20 years (n=18). Just over half (n=30) of WCDHA respondents were familiar with OMT, and the majority (n=37) were interested in learning more about OMT. Three (60%) of the program directors indicated their programs did not include education on OMDs, and the majority (n=4) indicated they were unsure if education on OMT should be included in dental hygiene curriculum.

With the majority of hygienists not receiving training on OMT during their dental hygiene programs, and not utilizing OMT in their practices, more information and education should be provided to the dental hygiene community regarding OMDs and OMT.


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