Generally speaking, there are 3 ways to replace a missing tooth: a denture, dental implant, or dental bridge. Let’s consider the implications a tongue thrust and poor oral resting posture could have on each of the three options listed.
Dentures can be difficult to adjust to, and a tongue thrust can make it worse. The force of the tongue can push dentures and other removable dental appliances out of place and complicate eating.
2. Dental Implants
Most dental professionals would agree that the ideal way to replace a missing tooth is with a dental implant. A dental implant is screwed directly into the alveolar bone (the same bone that supports your natural teeth), where it is expected to osseointegrate. Unlike your natural teeth, dental implants are not bound by periodontal ligaments (PDL) to the bone. The PDL allows for slight movement of the natural teeth. For this reason, the forces of clenching/grinding of teeth have been associated with peri-implantitis and implant failure, and the forces of the tongue have the potential to affect implants as well.
In mouth breathers (often associated with tongue thrusting), natural teeth (including abutment teeth of a bridge) are at higher risk for tooth super-eruption, decay, and more.
Replacing a missing tooth is an investment in the functionality and appearance of your mouth. Maximize both with a proper oral rest posture and swallow.