To the Editor.—The report of congenital fusion of the gums (Amer J Dis Child 112:593-595, 1966) is of interest to those investigators concerned with facial development. It should be mentioned, however, that bony fusion of the jaws as well as membranous intraoral bands have, contrary to the authors' implications, been reported several times in both medical and dental literature.1-6 The preferred term appears to be syngnathia.
The frequent occurrence of aglossia (small tongue in this case) or cleft palate, or both, in association with these conditions, at first suggests that mechanical or postural factors are involved in the pathogenesis. The first branchial arch, however, does contribute to each of these structures. Although the radiograms are not presented, underdevelopment of the rami of the mandible in this case would also be compatible with a first arch abnormality. Hypoplasia of the rami secondary to "disuse" in utero, as suggested