A tongue appliance, also called an anterior bite plate or tongue crib is a device used to treat overjet. It works by holding the tongue in place while your child goes to sleep. Overjet is a condition in which the upper teeth sit behind the lower teeth when your child bites down. Tongue appliances are most effective for babies and young children.
What are the types of tongue appliances?
There are two different types of tongue appliances. One is a simple palate tie, which is made of acrylic or plastic. The other is a metal U-shaped device that attaches to the top front teeth with a screw. These appliances are very popular because they are adjustable and can be custom fit to your child’s mouth. Metal devices are also easier to keep clean than plastic ones.
What are the benefits of using a tongue appliance?
The biggest benefit of using a tongue appliance is that it can correct your overjet in a matter of days. Your child may not need to use the device forever since the lower jaw continues to grow throughout childhood. However, some children may need to wear the device until their permanent molars grow in or until their mouths have stopped growing altogether. The sooner the teeth are aligned with the rest of the mouth, the sooner your baby can transition from bottle to regular eating. This can help avoid problems with speech development and issues with the way your child chews. It can also prevent long-term jaw problems later in life.
How is this procedure performed?
The dentist or hygienist fits the patient with an appliance that is supposed to move the muscles in the throat and mouth to keep the airway open when you sleep. The device is often worn only at night. It’s made from plastic that is custom-fit for your mouth. An impression is taken and sent to a lab where the device is made.
If you are using an oral appliance as a treatment for your child, you may have other obligations. You may need to monitor your child when they are sleeping to ensure that the device is working properly. You may also need to transport the device to the dental office when it needs adjustments or repairs. Make sure you understand all the responsibilities that come with using a tongue appliance to treat sleep apnea so you can make an informed decision.
To find out more about the dental services offered at our dental practice, call (801)- 269-0303 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 155 E 13800 S Ste F4, Draper, UT, Draper 84020.