Myofunctional Therapy

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What is a "tongue thrust?"

A "tongue thrust" describes abnormal placement of the tongue during swallowing and speech. More specifically, it can be a combination of a deviated swallow and improper tongue resting positions. This incorrectly applied pressure can push teeth to move out of alignment. A "tongue thrust" can be caused by the following: thumb or finger sucking, prolonged bottle or pacifier sucking, open mouth breathing caused from allergies or premature loss of baby teeth.

​What is a "lisp?"

A lisp is a distorted or mispronunciation of the speech sounds, typically /S/. The placement of the tongue during speech and swallowing is the same. Therefore if an individual swallows placing their tongue on their front teeth then most likely they are also placing their tongue on their front teeth while speaking, causing a "lisp."

Interdental lisps are often developmental disorders and usually resolve themselves by the age of 4 1/2. Anytime after 4 1/2 is a good time to seek the advice of a speech therapist. If the therapist feels your child is ready and would benefit from therapy, get started as soon as possible. The longer you wait the stronger the habit and the longer it will take to fix. Unfortunately, most school therapists are unable to treat lisps until the age of 7 or 8. Even worse, in some areas if the lisp does not affect the child’s education the speech therapists in the schools are not able to help the children at all. In these cases you may be on your own to find a private therapist for help.

What kind of lisp does my child have?

There are four kinds of lisps:

1. Interdental lisps

(when the tongue goes between your front teeth and makes the –th- sound for the /s/ and /z/ sounds).

2. Dentalized lisps

(when the tongue hits the teeth while making the /s/ and /z/ sounds).

3. Lateral lisp

(when air escapes out the sides of the tongue).

4. Palatal lisp

(when the tongue hits the soft palate while making the /s/ and /z/ sound.

Lateral and palatal lisps are not typical developmental errors and children who have these speech characteristics are less likely to “grow out of it”. If your child has a lateral or palatal lisp I would advise having your child evaluated by a speech therapist.


If an individual has a tongue thrust or a lisp, it is crucial that they receive speech and swallow therapy in order to correct their dentition and improve their speech. Kim is a certified Myofunctional Therapist, who uses a method that has been developed to correct a tongue thrust which also corrects a lisp. Speech therapy corrects the deviated tongue positioning at rest and during swallowing and also improve articulation, resulting in improved speech and dentition.

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Speech therapy paired with orthodontics is the most efficient way to correct a tongue thrust. Orthodontics corrects mal-alignment of dentition, which is usually caused by inappropriate tongue positioning.

Kim works directly with the patient and their Orthodontist to ensure the most successful results possible. Parent involvement and home programs are key to successful treatment!