© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009
Margaritis Z. PimenidisThe Neurobiology of Orthodontics10.1007/978-3-642-00396-7_11
Marathonos Street 22, 152 33 Halandri, Athens, Greece
Margaritis Z. Pimenidis
Diagnosis of oral motor disorders is a professional skill. The basic goals of the practitioner are to discover the patient’s motor problem, understand the potential causes of the problem, and make appropriate treatment recommendations. To accomplish these goals the orthodontic or dental clinician must have a basic knowledge of normal and disordered oral motor behavior. The central nervous system that regulates oral neuromuscular functions or behaviors is traditionally viewed as an impenetrable “black box”. In this “black box” view the sensory and motor functions of the mouth are coded in the DNA molecule of the neuron, and the code acts as a blueprint or program containing all the necessary information for normal behavior development. This view has the corollary that evident oral neuromuscular disorders such as those seen in certain malocclusions of the teeth, have been interpreted as DNA coding errors, as mistakes in some inborn or congenital programs. In the past studies based on the “black box” view were popular, and this was the extent to which researchers went in conceptualizing the nature of oral motor behavior. Thus, most early oral motor behavior research contributed little toward the understanding of normal and dysfunctional behavior, since the intervening brain mechanisms, regulated by genetic factors, could not be influenced by orthodontic therapeutic measures.