Tongue Thrusting And Orthodontics
When a patient visits our office for their initial consultation, there are a number of factors we check to determine if orthodontic care is needed. We look at the placement of the teeth and we also check the jaw placement and learn if you suffer from conditions such as TMD, sleep apnea, have a speech impediment or other issues. One issue in particular that we look for is tongue thrusting. Tongue thrusting occurs when the tongue is in an incorrect position during swallowing. It can also be called a reverse swallow or an immature swallow. It is cause for concern because it can reverse the corrections made by orthodontic treatment and move teeth out of alignment.
Causes of Tongue Thrusting
Unfortunately, tongue thrusting is an involuntary action that many patients are surprised to learn is occuring. Most newborns thrust their tongue and typically outgrow this behavior by the time they are ready to eat solid foods. When the behavior is not outgrown, the force of the tongue continues to strengthen, causing a problem with the teeth. Tongue thrusting can be caused by:
- Prolonged thumbsucking
- Certain bottle nipples
- Mouth breathing
- A large tongue
- Hereditary factors
- Being tongue-tied
- Physiological abnormalities
Treatment of Tongue Thrusting
Since tongue thrusting is an involuntary action and most patients are unaware, it can be difficult to break the habit, although it is treatable. Our team or a dentist will make a suggestion for treatment depending on the severity. Treatment can include therapy that retrains the tongue muscles. This can involve visits with a professional as well as additional practice to be completed at home. Another option may be the use of an appliance to help with the placement of the tongue. It will discourage the tongue from pressing forward.
If you have any questions about tongue thrusting or are interested in learning more about orthodontic treatment for you or a loved one, be sure to contact our office located in Southfield, MI to schedule a consultation. We look forward to speaking with you soon!