Can the FaceFormer be used with passive patients (e.g. vegetative coma)?

Question

Within the scope of my work as a speech therapist, I am always looking after vegetative coma patients with hypertonic orofacial musculature who tend to bite their lower lip. Often these patients are provided with bite splints by their relatives, which seems to me, however, to be of little use. In my search for more practical methods, I have now come across the FaceFormer.

But now to my questions: Can the FaceFormer also be used with passive people without the possibility of cooperation to eutonize the musculature? What would such an application look like and at what intervals would it be useful?

Answer

We support your observation that bite splints are not very effective in coma patients. On the contrary, they provoke gritting teeth together and are only of limited durability. They are also not effective against lip biting. The FaceFormer shields the oral cavity from the outer lips in the oral vestibule. This alone prevents bite injuries. But also the negative pressure in the oral cavity and the adjustment of the nasal breathing favours impulses on muscle chain functions, which are of great importance for coordinated movements in the mouth/throat, e.g. tongue movements, swallowing etc..

It is important that the FaceFormer is only used under control, in the presence of the therapist or nurse. The exercises are carried out as follows: The FaceFormer is placed in the oral vestibule, in front of the teeth, behind the lips. The lips are pressed as evenly as possible against the lip wedge. The patient is supported by the therapist who presses the lips against the lip wedge on both sides with the middle finger, index finger and thumb. This position is held for at least 10 nasal breaths. Then the therapist disrupts the support and determines whether the lip position is held independently. If not, this procedure is repeated again and again. The therapist exerts a slight pull on the lip wedge, alternately in different directions, of course only so strong that the FaceFormer’s mouth shield is not pulled out. In total, these exercises should be repeated for about 30 minutes. This gradually stabilises the vital abilities such as swallowing and breathing. In addition, the bite reflex is reduced.

occlusal splint,eutonization,lip biting,vegetative state