Ask a Therapist: Differentiating Between Bite Blocks and Chewy Tubes

What is the difference between bite blocks and chewy tubes? How do you know the difference of when to use them in therapy?

The difference between the bite blocks and chewy tubes is: Bite blocks are for isometric resistance at each of the 2-7 jaw positions. In order to have the ability to grade and control the jaw in a fluid movement we develop the stability in each position. Chewy tubes are for jaw grading for chewing/mastication and for jaw grading in speech (co-articulation). Starting with the red, then yellow, purple and green. As long as the client has gotten at least 2 compressions on the color you can add in the next color. For example, if a client is able to do 4 chews on the left and right with red chew then I can add in yellow. I could possibly have a client do red, yellow, purple and green as a set depending upon where their level of fatigue was evaluated.

You will always assess with bite blocks and chew tubes depending upon if you see jaw instability (open mouth posture, limited jaw grading, jaw sliding or jutting just to name a few). Based on your assessment will determine what you do in therapy. Hope this provides some clarity! – Monica Purdy, MA, CCC-SLP, COM®


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