Ask A Therapist: Bite Blocks & Bite Tubes for Trismus



I have an adult woman who has had surgery for oral cancer and has had resection of right hard palate. I have been treating her for Trismus using the TheraBite. This has worked successfully as she was able to wear an obdurator.


She is now at a point where she can no longer wear the obdurator and the TheraBite is therefore not an appropriate tool to help maintain her jaw opening as she has no functional surface to place the TheraBite on her right side. Have you had any experience using the Bite Blocks as a treatment for Trismus?


Thank you for your help in this matter.



Hi Tracy,

I have been using Oral Placement Therapy techniques with adults for many years. Trismus or difficulty with the controlled opening and closing of the jaw is often seen after oral cancer resection and/or radiation treatments. To treat it, I use a combination of the Bite Block Hierarchy and the Bite Tube Hierarchy to increase mobility and opening of the jaw. Bite Blocks work on static opening of the jaw muscles while the Bite Tubes work on dynamic mobility used for speech as well as for feeding. If you are not familiar with these techniques you can learn about them by watching the video of my 2-day class “A Three part Treatment Plan for Oral Placement Therapy.”

The success of the program depends not so much on the severity of the truisms but on the compliance of the client. It will be necessary to practice each activity 10 times per day to ensure success.

I have just completed my newest book A Therapist’s Guide to Improving Speech Clarity and Feeding Skills in the Adult Population using Oral Placement Therapy. It is with the publisher now and will be available within the next few months. In it I teach these techniques as well as the other OPT activities I use with the adult population.

I hope this has answered your question,

Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, MS, CCC-SLP

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