Tongue Thrust

An orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) is an abnormal lip, jaw or tongue position during rest, swallowing or speech. This can include:

  • Dental abnormalities

  • Lisp

  • Open-mouth resting posture

  • Tongue thrust

Children with OMDs may have issues with eating, drinking or speech. You may also see these disorders when your child has prolonged oral habits like thumb or finger sucking, or prolonged mouth breathing.

Our certified speech-language pathologists at Johns Hopkins All Children’s are specially trained in the evaluation and treatment of OMDs. We work with you and your child’s dentist and orthodontist to provide a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses your child’s unique needs.

Evaluation and treatment

The speech-language pathologist will gather information on your child’s feeding history, oral habits and dental or orthodontic history. We will then examine your child’s oral structures, observe your child while eating and drinking, and assess his or her articulation (speech sound production). Evaluation appointments last about one hour.

We will develop an individualized treatment plan for your child, focusing on tongue and facial resting postures, swallowing patterns, and speech sound production with appropriate tongue placement. The treatment plan will include a daily home exercise program.

When to begin treatment

The best age to being treatment is 8 years old. Most patients are 8-12 years old. Treatment may be recommended for younger children, ages 4-7, depending on the child’s condition.

Children ages 4-7 typically receive treatment if their dentist or orthodontist notes a developing malocclusion, such as an overbite, overjet, or open bite; the child demonstrates an open-mouth resting position; and none of the following factors are present:

  • Thumb or finger sucking habit
  • Enlarged tonsils/adenoids
  • Allergies or other sinus issues
  • Planned rapid palatal expansion
  • Restricted lingual frenulum (tongue-tie)

Parents must be able to complete the daily home exercise program while their child is receiving treatment.

Contact us

To schedule an evaluation or for more information, call us at 727-767-4141.

You can also request an appointment online using our online form.

Medical records may be faxed to 727-767-6743.