Open Bite: Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

WHEN IT COMES TO OPEN BITE, which came first, the tongue thrust or the open bite?

An Open Bite Can Make Swallowing More Difficult

With an anterior open bite, it is more difficult to seal off the front of the mouth during swallowing. There is "lip incompetence", the lips often do not come together easily, and the tongue must compensate by coming forward to make swallowing possible.

To illustrate this point, try this simple exercise:

  1. Place your two fingers between your upper and lower front teeth
  2. Try to swallow

Viola! You have a tongue thrust!

"A tongue thrust swallow therefore is more likely to be the result of displaced incisors, not the cause."
- Dr. William R. Profitt

The tongue pressure during swallowing simply has too short a duration to have an impact on tooth position. Pressure by the tongue on the teeth during a typical swallow lasts for 1 second. An individual swallows 800 times per day and fewer times during sleep. One thousand seconds of pressure equals only a few minutes and is not nearly enough time or pressure to affect tooth position equilibrium.

Orthodontic Treatment Can Help Tongue Thrust

The good news is, orthodontic treatment for open bite can make your tongue thrust go away. If you are an adult, orthodontic treatment of your open bite often requires tooth extraction, tissue anchorage devices (TADS), or orthognathic surgery.

This case was treated by Board Certified orthodontist, Dr. Ann Marie Gorczyca, Find us at or call us at (925) 757-9000 if you have questions about tongue thrust and open bite.

Open bite came first and then tongue thrust. Eliminate your open bite today and make your tongue thrust a thing of the past.

More Topics
diplomate american board of orthodontics Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists advanced education in orthdontics
member american association of orthodontists seattle study club american dental association california dental association
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