Another mind-blowing experience I had the other day. I am going to change the names here to protect the innocent and the ignorant but unfortunately this story hit so close to home that I KNOW it is happening everywhere, all the time.
The situation takes place in a well-respected and highly knowledgeable dental office where the dentists, assistants, and hygienists have all received education about tongue thrust. A 10 year-old child sitting in the dentist chair is accompanied by his mother and the dentist mentions that the boy has “tongue thrust”. The mother says “What is that?” The dentist briefly explains to the mother that it is the forward pushing of the tongue against the child’s teeth and it is contributing to his dental problems. The mother says “What do we do about it?” The dentist says “Nothing really”. No one else (assistant or hygienist) chimed in and mentioned tongue thrust therapy and that it can eliminate the tongue thrust resting posture and active thrusting. The mother left overwhelmed with a “problem” and no solution. The dentist will likely wait until the boy has all of his adult teeth mostly in and then refer to the orthodontist to have the palate spread, tongue basket or spikes, and braces followed by a permanent retainer. After a year or so, the boy will be back at the orthodontist for a second set of braces because the teeth have moved again.
When this conversation was shared with me I was so sad and frustrated. I don’t know why the dentist didn’t share tongue thrust therapy to eliminate the tongue thrust as an option. Was it because he has referred in the past and it wasn’t eliminated? Was it because it was too time consuming and the patient won’t stick with it? Was it because he didn’t know?
Please share this information with families, dental professionals and speech therapists! There IS effective tongue thrust therapy that is clinically proven to eliminate tongue thrust. The Stone Tongue Thrust Protocol has an average remediation time of 10 sessions which is completed in a few short months. Clinicians who are Certified using the Stone Tongue Thrust Protocol are trained to recognize who is and isn’t a good candidate for remediation to maximize participation and accountability. Which sounds like a better option for you as a patient or parent? 3 months of tongue thrust therapy with a clinician trained in the Stone Tongue Thrust Protocol or years of orthodontia, appliances and maybe even surgery?
Let me be clear, the Stone Tongue Thrust Protocol does not REPLACE orthodontia, but the dentists and orthodontists who refer for it tell our patients what a difference it makes, and some won’t even begin orthodontic treatment until the tongue thrust has been eliminated. It’s painless, efficient, and cost-effective. It SUPPORTS the orthodontia because it puts the oral muscles in the correct place to work in synchrony so that the structures stay in optimal position for efficiency and effectiveness when at rest and in motion. What patient wouldn’t want to know they have this option? What dental practitioner wouldn’t want to provide best care to their patients? What therapist wouldn’t want to have the best tools to treat their clients? This is a game changer and more people need to be aware of this option! “Nothing really” should never come out of a dentists mouth when asked what can be done about tongue thrust!