Article: Volume 14 Number 1 Page 8 - January 2021

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  Orth Update 2021; 14: 8-12

Orthodontics:  Endogenous Tongue Thrust – Myth?

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Abstract: Anterior open bite cases are very challenging to manage due to the high relapse potential associated with this feature of malocclusion. It is helpful if the aetiology is established before embarking on treatment to ensure that the appropriate treatment modalities are carried out. Determining whether the aetiology of an anterior open bite is caused by an ‘endogenous tongue thrust’ is extremely difficult. In particular, differentiating between an adaptive and endogenous tongue thrust can be extremely challenging. The case study presented explores the clinical considerations when diagnosing and treating anterior open bites.

Clinical relevance: This report raises the question: is it possible to diagnose an endogenous tongue thrust?

Author notes: Yung Lam, BDS, MFDS(Glas), Specialist Registrar in Orthodontics, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Andrew Shelton, BDS, MFDS RCS(Eng), MDentSci, MOrth, FDS RCSOrtho, Consultant Orthodontist, Montagu Hospital, Mexborough and Jonathan Sandler, BDS(Hons), MSc, FDS RCPS, MOrth RCS, Consultant Orthodontist, Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Chesterfield, UK. email:

Objective: A case report is presented to demonstrate the difficulties orthodontists face in differentiating between an adaptive or endogenous tongue thrust.