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?
Why Does it Matter?
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
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-facial and skeletal development can take place.
Treating a Tongue-Tie
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, which means less surgical complications and better healing after surgery.
After the frenectomy, caring for the wound is also critical. The mouth and tongue heal rapidly so it’s possible that the tongue will reattach, meaning it will literally heal back down the way it was. We will meet with you immediately following the release to guide you through caring for the wound and show the new gentle exercises necessary to keep your range of motion gained from surgery. This allows the tissues to heal without restrictions and affecting the end result.
What’s a Lip-Tie?
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.