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napping-thumb-sucking-boy-bw-300x300My child likes to suck his thumb, fingers or pacifier.  How can I get them to stop?

Has your orthodontist diagnosed your child with a “tongue thrust”?

Are you an adult and recently diagnosed with a “tongue thrust” from your dentist or orthodontist?

Does your child have a tight [su_tooltip position=”north” shadow=”yes” rounded=”yes” title=”Frenulum” content=”a small fold or ridge of tissue that supports or checks the motion of the part to which it is attached, in particular a fold of skin beneath the tongue, or between the lip and the gum.”]frenulum[/su_tooltip] and you’re not sure whether to clip it or not?

Orofacial Myologists are specialized and highly trained professionals that focus on strengthening the muscles of the face and mouth in order to have better resting posture and swallowing habits. If you have a child or are an adult with a diagnosis of “tongue thrust”, orofacial myology is your answer. A tongue thrust is when there is weakness in the orofacial musculature, causing a tongue forward resting posture, whether it is pushing on your front teeth or laying between your upper and lower incisors. This in turn causes open bites and other dental malformations, which in turn requires orthodontics to improve your smile. Most orthodontists and dentists will not place braces or remove braces until the “tongue thrust” has improved or has been eradicated.[su_pullquote]If you have a child or are an adult with a diagnosis of “tongue thrust”, orofacial myology is your answer. [/su_pullquote]

pacifier-300xIn addition, orofacial myologists can help create a plan to assist in getting children to stop harmful sucking habits. It’s important to stop the sucking habits early due to the harmful effects of the sucking on your tongue posture and dentition. If a child continues to suck on fingers, pacifier, etc. his/her dentition can be affected, most likely causing an open bite due to constantly having the mouth open while sucking. In addition, during sucking, the child may not be using his jaw, tongue or lip muscles appropriately, causing weakness. This weakness may cause poor swallowing and resting postures, affecting speech sounds and dentition when the child ages.

Finally, if you have noticed that your child’s tongue is short, can’t stick it out as far, or has an indentation at the tip of the tongue (resembling a whale tale) then your child may have a tight frenulum. The role of the orofacial myologist is to assess the frenulum, make a determination to clip it or not and provide therapy to improve strength and range of motion of the tongue.

Some consequences of having a tight frenulum include speech issues, difficulty chewing, swallowing or latching onto the bottle or breast. It is important that a team approach is in place with an [su_tooltip position=”north” shadow=”yes” rounded=”yes” title=”ENT” content=”Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor”]ENT[/su_tooltip], dentist, pediatrician and orofacial myologist when making the decision to remove the frenulum.

For further information go to or to schedule an evaluation for your child call Jennifer McCullough or Carly Morris at 770-209-9826.