Yu-Chieh TSENG, Senior Occupational Therapist,
Taitung Work Station, Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation
Scars located on the face are notoriously difficult to deal with. The reason is that they often result in contracture, it’s not easy to apply pressure on them and it’s not easy to stretch them. This is the case with scars around the mouth.
Lip contracture will result in microstomia, which is a reduction in the size of the oral aperture. Other problems include lower and upper lip ectropion, as well as that shape of the mouth that will become skewed.
People who have microstomia will have difficulty eating or carrying out oral hygiene, and if they need to undergo surgery, intubation will be difficult. Lip ectropion will make it difficult to close the mouth, teeth will be exposed. Sometimes burn survivors will have difficulty controlling salivation and speech will be affected.
Apart from using facial exercises and scar massage, using a mouth splint can provide prolonged stretching to the scars. There are many types of mouth splints that can be made with a variety of material. In this video, we will show you how to make a simple mouth dilator using metal wire to provide horizontal stretch to the mouth.
Download the mouth dilator fabrication checklist
Download the metal wire pattern
For more tips, how to's and videos about burn rehabilitation, visit Sunshine Training Youtube channel.