Being tongue tied isn’t just a figure of speech. It’s a very real medical condition that can affect oral and facial development, and have a range of other serious health consequences.
A tongue-tie used to be thought of as something that only affected babies and breastfeeding. But new research shows that the problems associated with a tongue-tie can affect both children and adults of all ages. Releasing a tongue-tie is now an integral part of achieving optimal oral and dental health.
What is a Tongue-Tie?
A tongue-tie is also known as a restricted lingual frenum or tethered oral tissue (TOT). The Frenum is the line or band of tissue under the tongue that we all have. It connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. For some, the frenum is too tight or too short, and it can actually restrict the movement of the tongue, as well as prevent it from resting in the correct place. A similar tissue connection can be found inside your upper and lower lips as well.
Why Does it Matter?
Your tongue should fill up the entire roof of your mouth. When it does, it provides an internal support structure for the upper jaw. If your tongue is in the right place, your teeth will grow in straighter and your face will develop properly. A tongue-tie keeps your tongue in the bottom of your mouth.
For some people, it’s tighter or thicker than it should be, and this can physically restrict the movement of the tongue.
A tongue tie can also be referred to as Ankyloglossia or Tethered Oral Tissue (TOT) and can cause the following symptoms.
- Speech issues
- Mouth breathing
- Jaw pain, clenching, and grinding
- Head, neck, and shoulder tension
- Forward head posture
- Snoring, sleep disordered breathing, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), and sleep apnea
- Increased risk of cavities and gum disease
- Slower orthodontic treatment
- Orthodontic relapse
Tongue Tie & Breast Feeding
Breastfeeding is one of the first ways a tongue tie can be noticed. When mothers have trouble breastfeeding, a tongue tie can often be to blame. However, if babies are bottle fed, or meet weight-gain and growth markers, the tongue tie can be missed or overlooked.
Just because a mother managed to breastfeed her baby doesn’t mean that tongue tie isn’t an issue. Many times, a nurse or lactation consultant will notice a tongue tie but not recommend a release because the baby is gaining weight.
From a myofunctional perspective, the tongue tie still needs to be released so that proper oral development can take place.
Treating a Tongue-Tie
Most often, a tongue-tie must be treated surgically. This procedure can be called a frenectomy, frenotomy or frenulectomy.
At Serenity Valley Family Dentistry, we have been performed over XXX procedures and are the referral of choice for XXXXXX. It is a simple, fast, painless procedure we do using our Solea laser.
There’s more to treating a tongue tie than just releasing it, and this is where myofunctional therapy comes in.
It’s very important to do myofunctional therapy exercises for at least two to three weeks before the frenectomy. This helps prepare for the procedure by strengthening the muscles of the tongue.
After the frenectomy, caring for the wound is also critical. The mouth and tongue are great at healing, so it’s possible that the tongue will reattach, meaning it will literally heal back down the way it was. So I meet with my patients immediately following the release to guide them through caring for the wound, and to teach them new gentle exercises. This allows the tissues to heal without reattaching and affecting the end result
What’s a Lip-Tie?
A lip-tie is similar to a tongue tie, and the two are often seen together.
With lip-ties, the small seams that we all have on the midline between our lips and gums are too short or thick, causing restricted lip movement. This can have a major impact on breastfeeding and speech, as well as dental development.
At Serenity Valley Family Dentistry, Lip-ties are treated exactly the same way as a tongue tie; the tie is surgically released, and myofunctional therapy exercises are prescribed.
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Serenity Valley Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing comprehensive family care with a gentle touch. We recognize that for many people, going to the dentist can be stressful and a white-knuckle experience. To eliminate your fear and anxiety, we have created a warm, friendly and calm atmosphere both in our lobby and our treatment rooms. We offer a complimentary beverage bar in our waiting area and will treat you to a tranquil, warm paraffin hand wax dip during your procedure. We also encourage you to bring your own headset and music if that will help you relax.
Our doctors and each of our dental assistants is personally committed to making you feel at ease by explaining every step of our treatments. We’ll answer any and all questions you have about your options and we’ll always provide effective and efficient numbing agents to prevent any discomfort. We utilize leading-edge innovations in dental procedures and equipment to make sure you are receiving the best dental care available.
Gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up around your teeth causing red, swollen inflammation of your gums. Fortunately, gingivitis can be reversed with excellent oral hygiene—regular brushing, flossing and dental cleanings.If untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis which usually involves the loss of gum tissue (receding gums) and possibly even bone loss. This can happen in any of the 192 sites around your teeth and should be carefully monitored.
Again, if not treated properly, eventually periodontisis advances to a stage where you may lose teeth in addition to the bone and gum tissue. Periodontal disease is not reversible, but it can be controlled. We work with all our patients to avoid periodontal disease; however, if we feel you have a severe case, we will recommend a specialized periodontist dentist to provide more extensive treatment options.
Anyone—children and adults—involved in active, competitive and even low-impact sports should consider protecting your teeth with a custom-fit mouthguard. For many sports, a mouthguard is now mandatory equipment and for good reason, in addition to preventing mouth and/or tooth injuries, they can also help protect athletes against concussions.Although premade mouthguards are available at most sporting goods stores, a custom-fit mouthguard is much more comfortable and durable. For more details about our sports mouthguards, please talk to your hygienist or Dr. Rosenfeldt.
Sealants are a protective measure used to prevent decay of the large molar teeth in the back of your mouth. These teeth typically have uneven surfaces and crevices that makes them vulnerable to trapped food and eventual decay. Sealants are helpful to patients of all ages, but they are especially recommended for young patients as soon as permanent molars emerge, usually around age six.
To apply sealants, we paint a thin coating of dental plastic that hardens to form protective layer on the tooth. The protective coating should last for several years, but can be reapplied as necessary.
Learn more about sealants by visiting with your hygienist at your next appointment.
Cleanings & Checkups
We recommend you come to our office for at least two and up to four preventive care checkups each year depending on your personal needs and dental plan. During these preventive care checkups, we will provide the following:
- Personal consultation and x-ray review
- Updates to your medical history
- Discussion of any problems or concerns
- Digital x-rays (90% less radiation than standard x-rays)
- Oral cancer screening with the VELscope® system
- Gum health assessment
- Cleaning and polishing of your teeth
- Fluoride varnish treatment
- Scheduling of your next 3- or 6-month appointment
As the old saying goes, you’re never fully dressed without a smile. To make sure your smile is a brilliant showstopper, we offer cosmetic dentistry that includes a whitening system, invisible aligners and veneers.
Zoom® Whitening At-Home Maintenance
After your in-office whitening session, you will receive a Zoom at-home maintenance kit that includes custom-fitted whitening trays and a tube of whitening gel as well as detailed instructions for when and how to use your at-home whitening kit.
As part of our Smile For Life program, we’ll give you a free tube of whitening gel at each of your six-month preventive care appointments so you can continue to maintain your whitening regimen. Of course, you’ll also need to practice good basic hygiene with proper brushing, flossing and avoiding stain-causing foods or activities to see the most benefit from the Zoom whitening procedure. This process is not for everyone; Dr. Rosenfeldt can visit with you about whether Zoom whitening is a good option for you.
Serenity Valley Family Dentistry is a Premier Invisalign provider. We’ll be happy to answer questions you have about the process or how Invisalign may work for you.
- Chipped teeth
- Mildy crooked teeth
- Spaced teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Old dental work
Sometimes, no matter how well you take care of your teeth, you experience injuries, cracks or decay that cannot be avoided. When this happens, we provide restorative dentistry to help repair the problem and prevent further issues.