Signs of Tongue Thrust and what to do about it

signs of tongue thrustRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

As an essential organ of the human body, the tongue helps you taste, chew, and swallow. Unfortunately, improper tongue function could interfere with your oral health. Tongue thrust is a condition that could cause your teeth to become crooked or misaligned, resulting in a narrow airway and requiring additional dental care. But, you may not be aware that you have it. Dr. Nancy Hartrick, a neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, is sharing the signs of tongue thrust and what to do about it.

Symptoms of Tongue Thrust

One of the most obvious signs of tongue thrust is your tongue pushing against your teeth when you swallow. Although this symptom is typically obvious, other, less noticeable signs could indicate you have the condition.

  • Tongue thrust affects how you speak, eat, and swallow.
  • Since tongue thrust causes the tongue to push against the back of your front teeth, it could cause misalignment or gaps to appear over time. The gradual movement could require orthodontic treatment to realign your smile. However, orthodontic relapse may occur if this orofacial myofunctional disorder is not addressed.
  • Tongue thrust often results in open mouth posture and mouth breathing, which causes a narrow face and unfavorable profile.

These symptoms are not all-inclusive of tongue thrust. To get an accurate diagnosis, you would need to visit our dental office in Royal Oak at Hartrick Dentistry.

Causes of Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is an orofacial myofunctional disorder that typically is caused by thumb-sucking or extended pacifier usage. It also may be due to an untreated tongue-tie. Early diagnosis and treatment through myofunctional therapy corrects the improper tongue movements. However, if the condition is left untreated, it could cause skeletal development problems as the child ages, resulting in the need for orthodontic care.

It is best to identify and treat tongue thrust early in life. However, even adults benefit from treatment. If you notice your tongue pushes against your teeth when speaking, eating, or swallowing, it is time to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Treatment Options for Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust will not go away on its own. It requires treatment by a neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, such as Dr. Nancy Hartrick. If you believe that you or your child may have tongue thrust, schedule an appointment with our dentist in Royal Oak at Hartrick Dentistry for an assessment.

Some of the most common treatments for tongue thrust are outlined below

  • Myofunctional Therapy – Much like physical therapy for your body, myofunctional therapy uses a specific series of exercises that train the tongue and mouth to function properly when swallowing and breathing. In addition, it helps the tongue rest with closed lips, teeth together, and your tongue pressing gently against the roof of your mouth in a natural position.
  • Oral Appliances – Some oral appliances, like custom-fitted mouthguards, can be worn all or part of the day to help prevent your tongue from pressing against your teeth.
  • Behavioral Changes – Tongue thrust could be caused by a repeated pattern. Once diagnosed, your family dentist in Birmingham can help you or your child recognize the behavior and attempt to overcome the condition through self-awareness.
  • Orthodontics – Depending on the severity of your tongue thrust and the damage caused to your teeth, you may need orthodontic treatment. Dr. Hartrick offers Invisalign, which is a discreet way to straighten teeth.

Family Dentist in Royal Oak and Birmingham

Tongue thrust, if left untreated, could cause problems into adulthood. However, there are several options available to correct this disorder. If you think you or your child suffer from tongue thrust, feel free to contact Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950 or request an appointment today.

Posted in General Dentistry

Contact Us





View our privacy policy

Dr. Nancy Hartrick, DDS
32609 Woodward Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48073
Call: 248-549-0950
Fax: 248-549-1180