Tongue Crib at 41

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Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:09 am

Tongue Crib at 41

#1 Post by claudiofranck »


I have posted a while back about my tongue thrust issues. Here goes a quick recap...
I had never had this issue ever before and About 5 or 6 years ago my dentist started noticing and telling me bite was opening during routine cleaning (I go every 3 months since I have a tendency for tartar build up).
At first I just a noticed an small diastema to the left of my left central incisor. I did not pay much attention after that, no big deal it is barely noticeable and I barely smile for pictures. However after sometime I went for a bite on a sandwich and I was dragging the meat, lettuce, tomato I wasn't cutting it anymore when it bit and noticed my top and bottom teeth were unable to touch anymore, same with pizza and other foods, so I started biting deeper with my molars to cut. Now I was really aware and waited for my next cleaning to bring it up. Now I noticed the gap between my top and bottom teeth.
At the appointment we talked extensively and after a few exams x-rays and further talking about it (I need to point out that the dentist is also a close friend of mine) she reached the conclusion that although very rare for this to appear as an adult it happens. So the first thing was to get checked by an otolaryngology doctor, for any breathing issues, obstructions and so on, besides some snoring there were no physiological issues. The final conclusion was that it most likely is stress related. Most people develop other issues such as bruxism but this was for me.

She told me to try and mind my tongue all day and try to correct it whenever I noticed my tongue was pushed against my teeth and reexamine. I did my best to do it while awake and found myself constantly doing it and it was more prevalent and forceful the more stress there was, for instance once after a very very long meeting while driving home a tooth was sore and as soon as I touched it it felt the same as when you get an adjustment on your braces. That started happening more and more often, sometimes waking up.
Back to the dentist she tells me we need to address that and recommends a tongue crib, she reluctantly says she might try tongue spurs because I didn't want something so bulky and noticeable in my mouth. Mostly because of ethtetics. She even went as far as telling me that she even thought that as a last resort there might be consideration for a tongue crib with spurs. I said would think about it and basically blocked it out of my mind until the next cleaning (which I purposely extended). After much crying and whining she agreed to try with a removable tongue crib, but she said it would not work but would indulge me for my peace of mind. As it was said after 8 months there was no progress at all, my gap was bigger.

Then I chickened out and have been postponing it for a couple of years. Noticing the bigger gap, teeth mobility sometimes a little pain like I explained, the last few months more than 1/4 inch of my tongue is now always between the gap to seal it.

Come now covid and quarantine, her offices were closed and I was 3 months overdue for a cleaning. And as she works she tells me (another comment it is an small clinic which is why I love going there very personalized treatment they really know you not just your name, my ortho did my cleanings when she had time she is the best, if not one of her colleagues would do it for her). She tells me that now real issues are starting my gum started retracting on 2 bottom teeth. She x-rays me and there were signs that bone loss could start soon. Alarm bells went off in my head, we started talking again about the tongue crib. I was almost decided by I was very very scared I even dreaded to talk about this with my girlfriend. Well the dentist pushed me, she helped talk to my girlfriend, she was there every day talking to me, easing my unrest and issues and I went for it.

I had it installed last Monday July 27th. The first words I uttered had me appalled about how I was talking, I was overwhelmed by that bulky, uncomfortable and relentless thing in my mouth . She took her time to make me at ease, telling me what to do, explaining how I should cope, what should I eat at first, cleaning etc...

As is said she went above and beyond (she earned the biggest box of chocolates I could find in this pandemic, we are very closed still).

This is has been a long introduction, I will post more details in a few days with more details about the days leading into the installation and then after how it has been.

For now I say after 5 days this has been the best decision I could have made and I am very happy to have done it.

Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:09 am

Re: Tongue Crib at 41

#2 Post by claudiofranck »

Hello, here is my retrospective from the days before og got it.

Official disclaimer, there is a lot of childish behavior.

Once I had partially decided to get it my next hurdle, I know I was being extremely childish, was talking to my girlfriend about it. We have been together for almost 4 years and living together for 2.5. I had in my mind that she could mind this thing, you know kissing and stuff and most of all I had a huge feeling of shame and insecurity. Towards her and towards my social circle.
It took me almost a week to talk to her about it and as it should be and and was she was extremely supportive, though she made sure to let me know that she would use my speech mostly to bully me a little (in the caring and loving sense), and ultimately let me know she would stand by me, push me so I didn't chicken out, and mostly support all the way.
Before I had even talked to her I talked about this with my bests friends (girls), they knew about this from the beginning, once I was with my girlfriend I was almost on my denial phase. And never mentioned it to her. She would sometimes comment on my gap between the left front teeth getting bigger and I would dismiss her. So I started pestering these two poor girls daily with excuses, drama and tantrums about this. Even after I talked to my girlfriend. They were extremely supportive and helped me through.

Then there was a start date, to get the separators on, first appointment, I went to get them. And some wisdom from my end started to show up. Before I had talked to the dentist about every option I could think of (engineer mind) to have them all dismissed. So when I had them on I told my dentist, since this is inevitable, it is going to be visible and will affect my speech, do not go easy on me, please make it as effective and intrusive as possible to maximize its benefits.

Then the next few weeks while waiting for the second appointment, measuring bands and impressions, I was acting totally childish with said friends and the dentist, from making up insane scenarios in my mind and telling them about it to get off this, to feeling sorry for myself. They never relented and helped me push through. I didn't pester my girlfriend about this much at this time because I knew it would be better to save her patience for her I had this on, so I lashed out to the other girls in my life.

Fast forward a few weeks, nothing changed much, still pestering them and still childish, while appearing brave and stoic for my girlfriend, the dreaded day came.
I arrived to the office and immediately the receptionist asked me if I was OK, I was literally shaking and pale as ghost. She immediately called all other doctors, in knew all of them, all girls and small clinic as is said before. They talked to me, they tried to calm Me down and make me at ease. It didn't do much. After a few minutes my doctor was ready, she called me to the office told me to sit down on the chair. She took a few minutes to talk to me, help me calm down, this time it worked a little. A few minutes later I had it on... Most of my fears and anxiety were gone, it had a huge, uncomfortable device in my mouth I couldn't speak properly but I was at ease and very peaceful inside.

More to come....

Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:13 pm

Re: Tongue Crib at 41

#3 Post by mattt »

Do you perhaps have any pictures of your treatment or the crib itself? from what you're describing it sounds very bulky and invasive.

Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:09 am

Re: Tongue Crib at 41

#4 Post by claudiofranck »

Yes it y very bulky and intrusive. Extremely uncomfortable. But still as bad as I make it seem it is not even 1/10 as bad I thought it would be.
I was eating almost normally within 3 days. Within 5 days I had a delicious skirt steak. I just have to take much smaller bites. Talking still bothers me a lot but has greatly improved and continues to improve.

I will post a more detailed account of the first days soon.

My tongue crib has bands on the second molars as usual but the crib goes from molar to molar all around.

Don't mind the black on top of my crowns (front 2 teeth are crowns), the will be replaced and intruded a little bit when I get the brackets.

Here are some pictures.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:13 pm

Re: Tongue Crib at 41

#5 Post by mattt »

Thank you for posting pictures, it definitely doesn't look like a fun time :shock:
But I'm happy to hear that you're getting accustomed to it! Do you know when the brackets come on?

Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:09 am

Re: Tongue Crib at 41

#6 Post by claudiofranck »

Hello, first sorry got the delay in updating.
So the first few days....
At first I had to learn to swallow again, not hard but different specially minding the tongue swallowing with it in the correct position just behind the tongue crib not against it and not past it using the lips.
As far as eating is concerned my first meals were literally baby, those purees made from powder and milk, delicious btw, easy to swallow. Then some potato puree with chopped hot dogs, then chicken and rice and slowly built up to eat anything. The only thing that is hard to eat is long pasta and such. The only thing is that I have to take a lot smaller bites and it takes 3 times longer to eat, other than that, no issues now whatsoever.

Next thing is the tongue, at first my tongue developed small sores where it touched the crib. These lasted a few days but the more it got used to it they appeared less and less, nothing really major, a little oral spray with lidocaine and I was ok for a few hours.

The biggest issue so far has been speaking I have issues mostly with S,P, D,R, TH and words consonants together. However as it got more used to it my speech has greatly improved, specially if I speak slowly. People now say it is barely noticeable except Por a few words now and then. I think I notice it more than others.

The next big milestone for me was in a social environment a couple of weeks ago was my first social gathering since the pandemic started, we were really locked up in Panama, as well as my first outing with a tongue crib and more so even if it was very small I only knew 2 people there so I was nervous, but nobody mentioned it at first, later I answered a few questions but that was it, not the big issue I had in my mind.

Now I can say I am used to it, but by no means I don't notice it which it's purpose it has to be noticed so I can retrain my tongue, the crib alone it just to block the tongue and a reminder for me to place it where it should be and little by little I do it more and more, recently I noticed that without me doing anything it is in its correct position. But when I sleep it still presses against the crib but les and less. The first days my tongue would wake up embedded in the tongue crib I had to pull it out, even more I have deformed the crib with all the pressure it was even worse than what the ortho thought it was, I had get it readjusted because it started touching a bottom tooth bit since then it appears to be settled no more deformation.

Also I started speech therapy, online via zoom, to help with my speech since I will have it for a long long time and to help with the habit. I had tried it before but it alone didn't work, the combination of speech therapy and crib is working wonders.

All and all I think it was the best decision, it is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, I am happy with it even if I have a love hate relationship with it.

My next check up is mid November and then we will probably set a date for braces.
I didn't start right away with them first because I don't want any extractions, second since I had a little gum retraction, which is what made finally take the leap, she wanted it to heal, also she said she wanted to allow nature to take its course and correct as much as possible just with the crib stopping my tongue from pushing, it has greatly improved. My canines now touch which they haven't in years and the space between upper and lower teeth when I smile is almost unnoticeable.

I hope this helps somebody who has the same doubts and fears I had before getting it, since there is very little information about this on adults.

Anybody feel free to contact me, if you dm in can give you a direct way to contact me and I can help you anyway I can.

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