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How Tongue Thrust Causes Orthodontic Issues

Updated: Mar 25

girl smiling with her left hand supporting her head

How tongue thrust causes orthodontic issues and the best treatment for it.

How does tongue thrust causes orthodontic issues? Tongue thrust appears when the tongue protrudes too far forward in the mouth, which can bring about a condition called open bite. 

Tongue thrust is more common in children than adults, though on rare occasions it can develop later in life. It can be attributed to improper swallowing, tongue-tie, thumb-sucking, and even swollen tonsils from chronic allergies.

Here are some common signs of tongue thrust:

  • Open bite – the front teeth don’t meet properly when the teeth are closed.

  • Mouth breathing – breathing out of the mouth instead of the nose.

  • Difficulty eating and swallowing.

  • Difficulty pronouncing certain letters.

  • The tongue is visible between the teeth even when a person is resting.

If left untreated, tongue thrust can cause misshapen teeth. As the tongue pushes against the back of the teeth, the teeth begin to shift outward. Over time gaps or spaces form between the teeth. These gaps are responsible for speech impediments, the tongue to stick out between the teeth and can cause the face to elongate.

Myofunctional therapy is a proven treatment for tongue thrust. The goal of myofunctional therapy is to establish a normal resting position where the lips and teeth close properly and the tip of the tongue does not push against the front teeth. This is an ongoing therapy with simple exercises designed to help a person:

  • Be more aware of how their mouth is moving

  • Use their tongue and mouth muscles properly when eating, drinking and speaking 

  • Pronounce letters more clearly 

  • Correct how they swallow and chew

  • Practice different breathing patterns

If a child’s tongue thrust has advanced to an open bite or other orthodontic issues, myofunctional orthodontics may be needed. This treatment involves the use of soft, rubber oral appliances, rather than traditional fixed braces.  

If you suspect that you or your child has tongue thrust or any other oral related issue, myofunctional therapy offers a wide range of treatments for conditions such as mouth breathing, speech disorders, sleep apnea, tongue-tie, and teeth grinding.  

To find out more about the dental services offered by our dentist in Albuquerque NM, Dr. Snyder, call (505)-293-7611, schedule an online consultation or visit us at 4830 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE, Ste. K, Albuquerque, NM, 87111.



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