When Patients Need More Than Just Orthodontic Care

It seems like a simple formula right? Crooked teeth plus family history equals somebody getting braces.Yet it’s not that simple. Previously, we talked about the different causes of crooked teeth, from genetics, dental accidents, and tongue thrust.

Now with the first two, braces are the solution. A dentist should continue the normal process of referring those patients directly to an orthodontist.

But with tongue thrust, it’s a different answer.

Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is a unique cause for crooked teeth because it’s constant pushing against the front of the mouth. While braces may help correct the teeth, that constant pressure slows and negates the work.Even if an orthodontist can get the teeth straight and the tongue thrust isn’t treated, the teeth will start moving back to their original and crooked positions.

What Do You Do Then?

The first step is to find out if the crooked teeth are being caused by tongue thrust or not. Luckily, we have this free guide about how to identify tongue thrust in your patients.

If you believe that they do have tongue thrust, then refer them to a trained orofacial myologist for speech therapy. With proper therapy, it can fix the tongue thrust, and afterward, the patient can be referred to an orthodontist to fix the teeth. 

5 Steps to Identify Tongue Thrust

Mouth Resting Posture

The patient’s mouth sits slightly open when relaxed and their tongue rests between or against their teeth.

Swallow Pattern

When the patient swallows, their tongue moves forward or out of their mouth.

Tooth Alignment

  • High narrow plate
  • Open bite
  • A significant overbite or overjet
  • Slow tooth emergence
  • Bilateral tooth issues

Family History

If a family exhibits symptoms, it is more likely that their children will have tongue thrust, too

Orthodontic History

A patient that has had braces for an unordinary amount of time or multiple times without satisfactory results may have tongue thrust

Rian Chatterton, owner of Chatterton Myo Courses
Rian Chatterton

Rian Chatterton is the owner of Center for Orofacial Myology and creator of Chatterton Myo Courses™. As a child, Rian Chatterton struggled with her R sounds. She loved the experience of attending speech therapy and was able to overcome her speech challenges. Being able to articulate clearly, helped her gain confidence and no longer feel embarrassed. This struggle led to a love for the field of speech-language pathology, where she has worked since 2006. With a Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Idaho State University (2002), a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Idaho State University (2004), she has worked with children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of communication disorders, specializing in the areas of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Augmentative & Alternative Communication, and Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders. Her continued passion to help others has led to continuing her education with a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), a State of Idaho License for Speech Language Pathology and completed her certification process with the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM) in 2016. Rian took over ownership of Boise Speech and Hearing Clinic in the summer of 2013 and established the Center for Orofacial Myology and Chatterton Myo Courses™ in 2021. Her desire to make a larger impact on those who struggle with Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders led to opening up the Chatterton Myo Courses™program to other professionals in the field of Speech-Language. This program has a 35 year long history with Boise Speech and Hearing Clinic as it was developed by the owner, Galen Peachey, who was one of the founders of the IAOM. Disclosure: Financials: Benefits financially from the teaching, selling, and use of these products. Earns a salary from the Center for Orofacial Myology™. Non-financial: No relevant non-financial relationship exists.