Orthodontists prescribe tongue cribs for those children who have developed poor oral habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusts. They are useful tools in helping to break the habit.
Tongue crib – braces tongue crib
Many people who have a child who is continuing to suck their thumb well past the normal age may have already learned about an important orthodontic appliance known as a tongue crib. Your local orthodontist in Miami, FL will be able to tell you about the problems that can come with a bad tongue thrust habit, such as improper oral hygiene or swallowing patterns, and even long-term issues with sucking and tongue thrusting such as misaligned teeth and speech issues.
Having a frank discussion with your orthodontic office about if your child should wear a tongue crib is important. You will want to learn will it affect their open bite or prevent the tongue thrusting? Is it the best orthodontic appliance for kids who suck their thumb? Are there any concerns it may break the tongue or need to be used for an extended length of time? Will the tongue crib appliance affect the front teeth or cause an oral cavity? Is this the best orthodontic treatment to prevent tongue thrusting or thumb sucking and what if habits persist? What will the long-term issues be? Will the tongue crib keep the tongue from pushing teeth out of alignment? Is it damaged by sticky foods?
The truth is you may have these questions and many more when it comes to a tongue crib as it is not the most common orthodontic appliance, however, before we begin delving into what is a tongue crib, let’s take a look at what the experts of orthodontic medicine have to say on the topic.
The tongue crib is an orthodontic appliance that is used to modify tongue behavior or to break habits, or both (Sayin, MO et al.,2006).
There is some debate about the effectiveness of tongue cribs among orthodontic circles, as some say that they are successful and others oppose it (Sayin, MO et al.,2006).
One major reason for this debate could be because of the patient. That is, the individual ability of the tongue to adapt to the new environment created by the tongue crib (Sayin, MO et al.,2006).
What is tongue crib or tongue crib braces?
A tongue crib is a fairly simple orthodontic device designed to stop your child from continuing to suck their thumb or from tongue thrusting. While sucking their thumb or a pacifier may be a cute habit in infants, as children grow up this habit needs to be left behind for the well-being of their long-term oral health. The fact is that the longer a child sucks their thumb or pacifier, or tongue thrusts, the greater the likelihood is that they are going to develop serious orthodontic issues which simply put can be prevented at this stage but may cost tens of thousands of dollars and years of follow-up treatment if left unaddressed. Thumb sucking can even lead to major issues in speech, jaw shape, and even a child’s ability to chew.
The tongue crib itself is actually a fairly simple device that has some rings attached to the back of the mouth along with a wire which is designed to help keep the crib in place. The crib itself is designed to prevent the tongue from pushing or thrusting forward towards the front teeth as this behavior done often enough will lead to major orthodontic problems as mentioned above.
Do I need a tongue crib? Tongue crib orthodontics
If you have been unable to break your child from the habit of thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, it may be a good idea to talk with your orthodontic office about if a tongue crib will be right for your child. Your orthodontic office will know for certain if this is a good treatment option.
However, the fact is that a child who is unable or unwilling to break the habit themselves may need orthodontic assistance to follow through. Many times it is simply a child’s default state and so it is not that they are intentionally trying to cause themselves long-term oral harm. Many times it can simply be done absent-mindedly as a way of comforting themselves. This absent-minded method of self-comfort when done for years will lead to skeletal, muscular, and long-term jaw issues if left unaddressed.
So if your older child is continuing to thumb suck or tongue thrust long after the appropriate time, then the tongue crib may be an excellent way to help permanently break them of the habit.
Who needs a tongue crib most? And what is the tongue crib cost?
As mentioned earlier, people who most benefit from the tongue crib are those who are unable to stop the habits of thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. However, it is not just good for those individuals struggling with the issue as a tongue crib is also helpful in reversing some of the issues already caused by these bad habits.
The tongue crib can help to undo the damage that has been caused if it has not gone on for very long untreated. This is one of the most important reasons why it’s essential that you seek out orthodontic assistance as soon as possible if you suspect your child may have trouble breaking this habit.
The cost of the tongue crib will vary widely and it is largely dependent on a whole host of other factors such as any other orthodontic treatment your child may be receiving like braces. Generally though, the price can vary quite wildly and is affected by things like your personal medical issues, how long the problem has gone untreated, and the state of your child’s teeth.
With all that said, the price can range anywhere from between $3,200 to $6,000. As mentioned though, this is largely dependent on any other kinds of treatments your child may or may not need to receive.
How is the treatment with tongue crib and is it any different if you have braces and a tongue crib?
It is very often that children who are getting a tongue crib may also need something else in addition like a palatal expander or braces. Oftentimes, using these treatments in conjunction means that the overall treatment time will be less for a child instead of doing them sequentially. For instance, if a tongue crib takes 6 to 12 months to fix a problem and the braces need to be on for 12 to 24 months, doing them sequentially means your child will be having orthodontic work done for over 3 years. However, when done simultaneously, this treatment can be done in as little as 2 years or less.
Tongue cribs themselves usually only take between 6 and 12 months to correctly train the mouth and tongue to give up the old habits so as far as orthodontic medicine goes, this is one of the fastest treatments available to fix a potentially major orthodontic issue.
Sayin, M. O., Akin, E., Karaçay, S., & Bulakbaşi, N. (2006). Initial effects of the tongue crib on tongue movements during deglutition: a Cine-Magnetic resonance imaging study. The Angle orthodontist, 76(3), 400–405. https://doi.org/10.1043/0003-3219(2006)076[0400:IEOTTC]2.0.CO;2
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