If you’ve noticed that your child has difficulty closing their mouth, or that their tongue is frequently sticking out, they may be suffering from persistent tongue thrust. This condition forces the tongue against the teeth and may alter the alignment of the teeth or even cause problems with speech and swallowing. Many children are affected by this dysfunction, but it can be treated. Our Wicker Park dentist explains more below.
Tongue thrust is a type of muscular dysfunction that causes the tongue to protrude and push up against the teeth. The front of the tongue may push up against the front teeth, sometimes forcing the tongue to stick out, or the thrust may be towards the back of the mouth, pushing against the molars. This dysfunction can cause issues with dental health, teeth alignment, and swallowing. Additionally, it can cause speech problems, such as lisp and speech impediments, as well as bite issues.
Most children experience tongue thrust as babies and outgrow it by the age of four. However, it may persist past this age and become stronger. Reasons for persistence include:
Persistent tongue thrust can cause many orthodontic and dental issues and should be addressed immediately to prevent future problems.
Over time, tongue thrust can move the teeth out of alignment as the tongue constantly exerts force on the teeth. While the misalignment can be adjusted with treatment, any work done will be reversed if the tongue thrust isn’t addressed. Treatments may include appliances such as cribs and rakes that make the patient redirect their tongue to a regular resting position, treatment of underlying allergies, physical therapy, and behavior modification in the case of thumb-sucking.
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to dentistry, feel free to contact Dente Complete Dentistry, with a convenient dental office in Wicker Park by calling 773.295.0562 or by clicking here.