electropalatography, lingual-palatal contact, orofacial myology


The purpose of this study was to determine if electropalatography (EPG) would be a useful adjunct and feasible option for those conducting clinical assessments of individuals with suspected nonspeech orofacial myofunctional disorders (NSOMD). Three females (two adults, one child) were referred by their orthodontist for assessment of suspected NSOMD. Three adults and one child without NSOMD were recruited for the purpose of evaluating methodological construct, and to provide comparisons for participants with NSOMD. Using EPG, lingual-palatal timing and contact patterns of 105 saliva swallows (45 with NSOMD, 60 without NSOMD) were analyzed by compartmentalizing the sensor display and tracking the order and duration of activation. Lingual-palatal contact patterns were compared in terms of four stages: prepropulsion, propulsion, postpropulsion, release. Coding the lingual-palatal activation in an operationalized manner was a valuable adjunct for describing lingual-palatal timing and contact patterns. Participants with NSOMD showed unique lingual-palatal contact patterns that differed from the patterns of the participants without NSOMD, and from each other. EPG is a potential adjunct to the non-instrumental assessment of NSOMD. Larger scale investigations using EPG should proceed.