Atypical swallowing needs treatment in order to eliminate harmful interferences of the tongue, which prevent the harmonious growth of the stomatognathic system. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of a functional appliance on the presence of atypical swallowing, analyzing the lip strength and the altered facial mimics. The effects of a myofunctional appliance (the Froggy Mouth) were evaluated on 40 children (6 males; 24 females; mean age 9.6 ± 2.17) with atypical swallowing-with tongue thrust diagnosed by an expert orthodontist-before and during a 6 month treatment. Data were analyzed over time with a paired samples t-test for normally distributed data. After 6 months of treatment, 33 children out of 40 achieved clinical correction of atypical swallowing due to their good compliance, even at an early stage. Seven children showed low compliance and did not obtain any result. Lip strength in compliant subjects went from 190.30 ± 86.04 cN to 489.39 ± 123.36 cN (t = p < 0.001). Facial mimics improved in 28 out of 33 compliant subjects, and four children with the initial diagnosis of labial incompetence achieved correction. This observational study demonstrates the short-term efficacy of this myofunctional appliance in the treatment of atypical swallowing, achieving correction of the facial mimics and labial incompetence with a significant improvement of the lip strength.
Keywords: atypical swallowing; interceptive orthodontics; lip strength; myofunctional appliance; orthodontic removable appliance; orthodontics.