Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

Tongue Thrust

Now offering Teletherapy for Tongue Thrust.

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Have you been wearing braces for an abnormally long amount of time?


Does your tongue move forward or out of your mouth when swallowing?


Do you have a family history of Tongue Thrust?


Does your tongue rest between or against your teeth when your mouth is in resting position?


Did you wear braces only for your teeth to return to their previous position?


Do you have a high narrow palette?

Why is it a Concern?

What happens if we don’t treat OMD? If a child is an open mouth breather at a young age and it is not identified as being a problem, then this open mouth resting posture encourages tongue down, lip open resting posture during the day and night. When the mouth is open with tongue down and forward throughout the day and night, the individual is more susceptible to hypertrophic tonsils, adenoids and large nasal turbanants. When these tonsils/adenoids are enlarged health risks increase:

  1.  More susceptible to viruses or bacterial infections, such as, strep throat
  2.  Sleep apnea due to restricted nasal airflow
  3.  Postural changes
  4.  Weak facial muscles

With open mouth resting posture facial features develop differently. The face appears long with poor definition of cheek bones. The mandible or jaw is retracted and small which affects airway size making it small and at higher risk for sleep apnea. When teeth emerge, they are misaligned. If tongue is forward and down at rest, the teeth will find space to grow and that is when open bites or over jets develop. The palate is high and narrow due to the open mouth breathing. The nose shape can change as well as the eyes looking tired vs alert.

Who Diagnoses Tongue Thrust?

The most difficult problem of all is the diagnosis. As a rule, orthodontists, general dentists, pedontists, some pediatricians, and speech therapists trained and certified as Orofacial Myologists detect the problem.

In many cases, tongue thrust may not be detected until the child is under orthodontic care. However, diagnosis is usually made when the child displays a dental or speech problem that needs correction.

If the tongue is allowed to continue its pushing against the teeth, it will continue to push the teeth forward and reverse orthodontic work.

Treatment for Tongue Thrust?

Treatment requires sincere commitment and cooperation of the child and parent. At the present time, successful correction of tongue thrust appears in 80% of treated cases, 20% are unsuccessful due to poor cooperation and lack of commitment by the parent and patients or neuromuscular involvement which makes correction impossible.

At Boise Speech and Hearing Clinic we use a program designed and developed at the Boise Speech and Hearing Clinic since the early 1970’s with evidence based practices. The program is an oral habit training method of exercises that re-educates the muscles associated with chewing, swallowing, lip strength and function to increase overall coordination. This method must be taught by a Speech-Language Pathologist trained and certified in Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders. This therapy has proven to give the highest percentages of favorable results.

Boise Speech and Hearing Clinic’s program is a 10-week program where the client is seen one time per week for 30-minutes. The client is given a series of exercises to practice at home. Each week the client will receive new exercises if homework has been completed. To ensure habituation into everyday environments the client will have 3 follow-up appointments after completing the 10-week program.

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