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Braces

Constant Irritation in My Tongue

05/13/2010

Question:

Hello ..

I have been having this constant problem with my tongue for over 3 years. I got braces 3 years ago, and everything was going fine, until my bottom two teeth started separating except the very tip of both teeth and therefore creating some sort of arc. Since my doctor had previously smoothed out my teeth in a vertical angle the arc was actually quite sharp. This caused my taste buds to get stuck, either when talking or by habit. Unfortunately, this did become a habit, and for some reason I can`t get rid of it.

I feel horrible for doing this to my tongue, and sometimes I waste my day just thinking about it. I don`t know what to do. I went to my Dentist but he told me that he can`t do anything about it. I would have to get braces again to fix it, but I would like to leave that as my last option. I can`t find any solution to this problem, and I feel my tongue won`t take much, after three years of constant irritation.

Please, any suggestions?

Answer:

This is only a guess. It sounds like you may have a residual tongue thrust associated with an open bite problem. I have no idea where you reside so I would suggest you find a hearing and speech therapist who is willing to examine individuals with residual so called tongue thrusts. There is not a lot of hard evidence in the literature that indicates this therapy works, but I have had patients whose open bite would only stay closed with this kind of awareness. 

If you don't find success with this approach, you need to see an orthodontic specialist. Remember that an orthodontist who treats only malocclusions has a minimum of two years of educational training beyond the 7-8 years it requires to become a dentist. You can Find an Orthodontist in your area at the American Association of Orthodontists web site.

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Response by:

Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS
Professor Emeritus - Clinical, Associate of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University