Can Tongue Thrust be Corrected in Adults?

Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Your tongue serves a variety of essential functions, even when it is at rest. It plays a part in how we eat, speak, and even breathe. Poor tongue positioning could cause a variety of problems, also affecting appearance and facial development. That’s why tongue thrust can be so detrimental, especially if this habit persists into adulthood. At Hartrick Dentistry, your myofunctional therapy specialists in Royal Oak wants to assure adults who still suffer from tongue thrust that treatment is available.

What is tongue thrust?

This habit also referred to as reverse swallowing or immature swallow, occurs when the tongue laterally moves while swallowing. Normal tongue positioning while eating involves somewhat of a wave-like pattern as the tip of the tongue gently rests against the backside of the upper front teeth and moves in a wave-like motion as it forces food to the back of the throat. Tongue thrust, on the other hand, involves the tongue being forward outward, pushing excessively against the front teeth. When this occurs, the person may chew and swallow with their mouth open and show food when they eat.

What causes tongue thrust?

Tongue thrust can occur for a plethora of reasons but develops most often due to frequent sucking of the thumb or fingers, or to compensate for the range of motion caused by a tongue-tie.

Warning Signs of Tongue Thrust

To treat this condition, you first need to know the symptoms. Look out for frequently breathing through the mouth, lips lingering open, and speech impediments. Gapped or protruding upper teeth also are signs of tongue thrust. While these warning signs may indicate tongue thrust, they are by no means a conclusive diagnosis. The only way to know for sure if you’re dealing with tongue thrust is to consult a qualified dentist like Dr. Nancy Hartrick in Royal Oak.

The Consequences of Tongue Thrust

Untreated tongue thrust may cause all sorts of problems in your life, especially if it remains into adulthood. Many adults with tongue thrusts suffer from dental malformations, such as a misaligned bite. This often manifests when the mouth is closed, yet your upper teeth don’t touch the bottom teeth. In essence, it creates a gap. Breathing issues such as sleep apnea commonly become linked to adult cases of untreated tongue thrusts. Speech impediments also are quite common.

Tongue Thrust Treatment

Myofunctional therapy could be the solution you’ve been seeking. At Hartrick Dentistry, we can use myofunctional therapy to correct a wide variety of oral disorders. This entails performing a series of exercises that work your tongue in conjunction with the muscles in the mouth. These therapeutic exercises are simple and pain-free. When performed repeatedly, they re-train orofacial muscles to operate at an optimal level, alleviating the cause of negative oral habits such as tongue thrust.

Treating Tongue Thrust in Royal Oak

At Hartrick Dentistry, we are trained in detecting tongue thrust in patients of any age. Then, we work closely with the leading myofunctional therapist in the area to provide relief. Don’t allow a tongue thrust to continue impacting the way you feel or speak. Call the office of Hartrick Dentistry at (248) 549-0950 to schedule your appointment and start treatment for your tongue thrust today. Hartrick Dentistry proudly serves patients in Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Myofunctional Therapy