Myofunctional/Tongue Thrust Therapy
A "tongue thrust" or myofunctional disorder is essentially a swallowing pattern where the tongue moves forward during the swallow, often pressing against or between the teeth, rather than sliding back along the roof of the mouth. Individuals who demonstrate a tongue thrust may also rest their tongue between or against their front teeth or have difficulty maintaining a closed mouth posture at rest. Continuous interference with an appropriate bite and swallowing pattern can result in dental malocclusions and may also contribute to articulation problems such as a lisp when producing the "s" sound.
Without treatment, a tongue thrust can maintain an open bite or crooked teeth even during treatment by an orthodontist with braces. Many clients who receive myofunctional therapy find that their progress with orthodontic treatment is faster and more successful than before their treatment.
Myofunctional therapy consists of weekly therapy sessions and daily practice activities to train the tongue to move away from the teeth during the swallow and to develop a closed mouth resting posture with nasal breathing rather than mouth breathing.
It is important that individuals participating in myofunctional therapy attend scheduled sessions consistently and follow through with daily assigned homework exercises in order to develop their new swallowing and rest posture habits.