A tongue crib, also known as a Nance appliance, holds the tongue forward, and can be used to treat normal overbite or underbite. The tongue crib fits on top of the lower teeth, in between the two front teeth. While it can help with both overbite and underbite, it’s more commonly used to treat an underbite. To use this appliance, your dentist will have you wear it at night before you go to bed. The tongue crib comes in several different sizes, so your dentist will fit you for one that’s comfortable and works best for you and your bite.


How Tongue Cribs Work

Tongue crib (also called nance appliances) are custom-made night guards designed to correct an underbite by restricting tongue movement. What do they look like? Think of a retainer—only instead of wires and plastic, these devices contain vertical bars (called hold-downs) that limit tongue movement. Depending on your case, you may also need removable plates or other dental equipment. You will want to speak with your dentist about which device is best for you before beginning treatment with your tongue crib.


What Does an Underbite Look Like?

How to fix underbite ? They are caused by jaw alignment issues that create an inward dip in your lower jaw. A tongue crib can also be used to treat overbites and cross bites. If you have any of these conditions, you may have a condition called an open bite where your top teeth don’t touch your bottom teeth when you close your mouth, or space between them.


An underbite causes the opposite; there's too much space between your upper and lower teeth when they come together, causing them to overlap. Orthodontists call it an occlusion. Your tongue sits on top of your lower teeth to help with chewing—if there's no room for it, they won't align properly.


Why Do Some Kids Have An Underbite?

Most kids have no problems with their bite. If you’re lucky, yours doesn’t either. But some kids suffer from an underbite which can cause social difficulties at school if not corrected. An underbite, or open bite occurs when your child’s lower jaw comes forward more than her upper jaw when she opens her mouth.


The most common cause of an underbite in young children is a misalignment of their permanent teeth as they grow in. In most cases, an orthodontist can straighten out these teeth by using what are called space maintainers, in conjunction with infant appliances called Nance Appliances which help move baby teeth forward into permanent positions for healthy development of adult bite and facial structure.


Treatment Considerations

What Is a Tongue Crib? The Nance appliance, also known as a tongue crib, is an effective treatment option for patients with underbite. As outlined by Dr. Richard Alexander on HealthTap, [t]he patient wears [the Nance] at night while sleeping. It holds [the patient’s] lower lingual holding arch forward to bring [his or her] lower jaw into proper position. This promotes optimal growth in both arches, which ensures that proper jaw alignment becomes permanent. Patients should be aware that they may need multiple rounds of treatment to achieve their desired results. However, by treating with Dr.



The lingual holding arch is based on common sense! That's right, if you want to fix your underbite, forget about all of those crazy contraptions that don't actually help. Instead, focus on activities that stretch out your tongue muscles. Put your fingers in between your top and bottom teeth while you read books or watch TV.


If you wear braces, try sticking pencils through your brackets so that they rest on top of your front teeth while reading or watching TV; doing so will encourage constant tongue activity. Or buy an elastic band that attaches to both sides of a book (or tablet) and stretches back to fit over your head—that way, as you read or watch TV, your mouth will be stretched wide open for long periods of time.

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