Clinical recognition of mouth breathers by orthodontists: A preliminary study

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Abstract

Introduction:

A routine diagnosis of a patient's breathing status performed by an orthodontist normally includes visual assessment, medical history, clinical examination of habitual lip posture, size and shape of the nostrils, reflex control of the alar muscle and respiratory tests, and the dental mirror test. The objective of this study was to test the recognition of mouth breathers in young persons by an orthodontist and agreement with an otolaryngologist's reference diagnosis when routine assessments were carried out.

Methods:

Three independent and blind evaluations were conducted on the same day by 2 orthodontists independently (anamnesis and breathing tests, respectively) and an otolaryngologist (rhinoscopy, nasal endoscopy, and visual assessment). The weighted kappa coefficient was used to test intraexaminer and interexaminer agreement. The frequencies of answers and findings were reported for each breathing status.

Results:

Fifty-five volunteers composed the sample of this study; 20 participants were nasal breathers, and 35 participants were classified as mouth breathers (and subdivided into mouth breathers with airway obstruction and mouth breathers by habit) by the otolaryngologist. The weighted kappa coefficient showed poor interrater agreement for most comparisons.

Conclusions:

Recognition of mouth breathing in young persons by orthodontists is poor.

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