Tongue thrust is a common habit where the tongue pushes forward against the teeth during swallowing, speaking, or even at rest. This habit can cause problems with orthodontics, both before and after treatment.

Here's a closer look at the connection:

How Tongue Thrust Affects Teeth:

  • Persistent tongue thrusting can exert pressure on the teeth, causing them to shift forward. This can lead to an anterior open bite (gap between the front teeth when closed) and other orthodontic issues.
  • It can also interfere with the proper development of the jaw bones, potentially affecting facial structure.

Tongue Thrust Issues While in Ortho Treatment:

  • Braces and Aligners: If someone has a tongue thrust habit and undergoes orthodontic treatment with braces or aligners, the tongue thrusting can counteract the pressure applied by the braces, slowing down treatment or causing the teeth to relapse after treatment is complete.

How Orthodontists Address Tongue Thrust:

  • Habit Recognition: Orthodontists typically assess tongue posture during examinations or consultations.
  • Myofunctional Therapy Referral: In cases of tongue thrusting, orthodontists might recommend consulting a myofunctional therapist.

Myofunctional Therapy for Tongue Thrust:

  • Myofunctional therapists focus on retraining the muscles of the face and mouth, including the tongue.
  • Through specific exercises, they can help individuals learn proper tongue posture and swallowing techniques, reducing the pressure exerted on the teeth.

Benefits of Addressing Tongue Thrust:

  • Improved Treatment Outcomes: By addressing tongue thrusting before or during orthodontic treatment, it can increase the chances of successful tooth alignment and reduce the risk of relapse.
  • Overall Oral Health: Improved tongue posture and swallowing can benefit overall oral health by reducing the risk of speech difficulties and other problems.

Who Can Benefit:

  • Children with Tongue Thrust: Early intervention is key. Addressing tongue thrusting habits in children can prevent future orthodontic problems.
  • Adults with Tongue Thrust Considering Orthodontics: If you're an adult with tongue thrusting and considering braces or aligners, addressing the habit beforehand can improve treatment outcomes.
  • Individuals Who Have Relapsed After Orthodontic Treatment: If your teeth have shifted back after braces or aligners, tongue thrusting might be a contributing factor. A myofunctional therapist can help.