At Parkcrest Dental Group, we’re strong advocates of preventative treatments and habits. The better care you take of your teeth and overall oral hygiene, the less time you’ll need to spend in the dentist’s chair. You might think that when it comes to orthodontic dentistry, there’s nothing you can do to prevent needing braces — your teeth just grew in that way, right? You’d be surprised.
As professionals in orthodontic dentistry, Parkcrest Dental Group is well aware that there are a few factors that can contribute to dental misalignment. If you can catch them early, you might be able to avoid having to contact an orthodontist in Springfield, MO.
One of these factors, which is lesser-known to most people, is your “tongue thrust”. What is tongue thrust? How does affect your teeth? How can it lead to the need for orthodontic dentistry treatments? Read on to find out.
What Is Tongue Thrusting?
“Tongue thrust” or “tongue thrusting” refers to the unconscious habit of having your tongue in the wrong position in your mouth. Incorrect positioning of the tongue includes resting too far forward, pushing against the back of your teeth, or too far to the side. From birth, children will exhibit tongue-thrusting, but usually grow out of it at around four years old.
Why Does It Happen?
In some cases, the habit doesn’t fall by the wayside at the right age and children will retain the habit. There are a few reasons as to why this happens. Children who suck their thumb or have a prolonged period of relying on a pacifier are more likely to have issues with tongue thrusting. Similarly, some artificial nipples for bottle-fed babies and infants can lead to the same issues.
Consistent mouth-breathing is also a common factor in tongue thrusting. Habitual mouth breathing is often a sign of other persistent issues such as congestion, allergies and other nasal or sinus problems. Suffering chronic tonsillitis or throat infections can also cause tongue-thrusting. Physical abnormalities and hereditary problems can also lead to tongue thrusting, further broadening the question of what causes it to include a huge number of factors.
What Are The Side Effects?
In most cases, the cause of tongue thrusting is as important as the potential side-effects it can have. While it might sound fairly harmless, over time it can cause significant problems with the development and alignment of teeth as they grow in.
Even if you can’t feel it, your tongue is putting enough pressure on the backs of your teeth to gradually push them out of their natural position. Not only can tongue thrusting cause problems with the alignment of teeth, but it can also lead to issues properly chewing and swallowing, and speech impediments.
How Is It Treated?
There are a few steps in remedying tongue thrusting. Orthodontic dentistry is required if the habit has persisted long enough to cause misalignment. To actually fix the issue itself, some patients will have a semi-permanent mouthpiece similar to a retainer put in to effectively retrain their tongue.
A speech therapist can also help with any speech issues that have come from tongue thrusting, and there is even a technique called Tongue Therapy designed to help. This is a technique that focuses on consciously retraining your tongue muscles using specific physical exercises until new, better habits are formed.
Contact Us For Professional Orthodontic Dentistry
Whatever the reason for your misaligned or overcrowded teeth, you’ll find the best orthodontic dentistry in Springfield, MO at Parkcrest Dental Group. We also provide services in pediatric dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and general dentistry, and are focused on your comfort and care. Contact Parkcrest Dental Group today.