If your child suffers from tongue thrust, you will know that it can cause a number of issues.
In fact, it can even affect their oral function, as well as their ability to eat and speak properly. But, do you know exactly what causes the condition, and how it can be managed? Read on to find out more about tongue thrust, and how we can help…
What is tongue thrust?
Tongue thrust refers to a condition in which the tongue presses too far forward in the mouth. When the tongue is in this position within the mouth, it often leads to various orthodontic issues, and may also be a sign of an orofacial myofunctional disorder.
Tongue thrust is most common in children and can be caused by a number of factors including tongue-tie, bad swallowing habits, and even allergies that cause swollen tonsils. Long-term sucking habits, like thumb-sucking, can also cause the condition.
How do I know if my child has tongue thrust?
There are a number of signs that could indicate that your child has tongue thrust. If your child has an open bite, for example, where their front teeth don’t meet when the teeth are closed, it could be a sign that their tongue is in an incorrect resting position. Other signs of tongue thrust include mouth breathing; difficulty eating; a speech impediment such as a lisp; and a tongue that is visible between the teeth even when your child is resting.
What kind of issues can tongue thrust lead to?
If left untreated, tongue thrust can cause a range of orthodontic problems — when the tongue constantly pushes against the teeth, the teeth can begin to shift and move outward. In time, this can cause gaps to form; or an open bite in which the top and bottom teeth don’t line up. This can cause issues with speech, and other oral functions.
How can tongue thrust be treated?
The good news is that it is very possible to treat tongue thrust. One of the most effective ways in which the condition can be treated is with the use of myofunctional therapy, as the treatment is designed to correct any functional issues involving the tongue and face. Myofunctional essentially works to correct these issues through repetitive facial exercises, as well as behavior modification methods. The exercises are painless and fairly simple, which means that they can be continued at home once they have been taught.
If your child’s tongue thrust has caused an open bite or other orthodontic issues, we may recommend myofunctional orthodontics. This treatment involves the use of soft, silicone oral appliances, rather than traditional metal braces. The appliances, which are designed to correct a number of poor oral habits, are worn at night, and for a few hours during the day. Because incorrect myofunctional habits like thumb sucking, mouth breathing, reverse swallowing, and tongue thrusting are so often the cause of orthodontic issues in children, we’ll complement the orthodontic treatment by teaching some simple exercises for better oral muscle function.
Do you suspect that your child may have tongue thrust or any other orofacial myofunctional disorder? We provide myofunctional therapy for a wide range of conditions, including mouth breathing, incorrect lip posture, restricted airways, speech disorders, tongue-tie, sleep disorders, and teeth grinding. For a full list of the orofacial myofunctional disorders that we can help with, have a look here.
Please don’t hesitate to book a consultation with the friendly team at Elite Dental of Staten Island if you think that myofunctional therapy could be the right treatment for you or your child. Get in touch with us here.