Tongue thrust appears when the tongue presses forward too far in the mouth, resulting in an abnormal orthodontic condition called an “open bite.”
The condition is most common in children. It has a myriad of causes, including:
- poor swallowing habits
Thumb sucking, nail biting, object chewing, short lingual frenulum (tongue tie), pacifier sucking, open mouth rest posture, low muscle tone, tori (excess bone growth in the palate) and allergies are all possible reasons for someone to develop a tongue thrust (forward tongue posture during rest and or during the act of swallowing).
Orofacial Myofunctional therapy focuses on proper tongue posture, lip closure, proper head posture and nasal breathing.
Because the tongue’s pressure can help to separate or hold teeth apart, the focus is often on the vertical dimension, working to retrain the tongue to rest on the palate with a lips closed posture.
Often, if the tongue is too short to accomplish this (tongue tie), other professionals, such as the periodontist, oral surgeon or general dentist can help to elongate the lingual frenulum.
Treatment for tongue thrust tends to be similar between children and adults.
Myofunctional therapy is non-invasive and uses no drug therapy. It is neuro-muscular based. Photographs and measurements are often taken so that progress can be proven and tracked.
Most initial evaluation consists of:
~ Photo Assessments of individual issues
~ Individual therapeutic program is created
~ Goals are set
~ Rewards program is established
Therapy uses positive reinforcement, self-esteem building and goal setting. These are primary goals in meeting objectives of SUCCESS.