Tongue Tie

What is
Tongue Tie?

Tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, refers to an abnormally tight "sublingual frenum."

A tongue-tie is a piece of tissue under the tongue that connects it to the floor of the mouth. This piece of tissue is called a frenum, and everyone has one. In some people, it’s tighter than it should be, and this is where all the problems come in.

It occurs during pregnancy when a small portion of tissue that should disappear during the infant’s development remains at the bottom of the tongue, restricting its movement.

tongue tie

Who can detect the presence of tongue-tie?

Diagnosis is something only done by licensed medical providers, such as pediatricians, lactation consultants, dentists and specialists in orofacial myofunctional therapy.

There are varying degrees of tongue-tie, so the importance of having a test or validated protocol that evaluates the tongue and the “trickle” under the tongue (lingual frenulum) is crucial.

What can happen with an infant if not treated?

Many people with tongue-tie suffer the consequences without knowing the cause. There are infants who have changes in the feeding cycle, causing stress for the infant and for the mother; there are also children with difficulties in chewing, children and adults with speech problems affecting communication, social relationships and professional development. With the chronic oral rest posture of the tongue in the floor of the mouth, many of the Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) enumerated above may result.

How & when should tongue-tie be treated?

When the tongue cannot perform all the necessary movements and thus jeopardizes the way of sucking, swallowing, chewing or talking, a small surgery or frenotomy in the tongue is indicated.

If a surgery is indicated, your dentist or your oral surgeon can do it. The “cut” of the frenum in infants is a simple procedure done with scissors, scalpel, or laser and anesthetic gel, which lasts about five minutes. In older children and adults the most common procedure is the frenectomy (partial removal of the lingual frenulum).

When is surgery indicated to release the lingual frenulum?

In infants, surgery is usually indicated when the lingual frenulum restricts the tongue’s movement and compromises breastfeeding. In older children and adults, the indication is made when the tongue is visibly restricted, is unable to adequately reach the palate, or when possible distortions in speech are caused by limitation of the elevation of the tongue tip that could not be corrected in speech therapy.

Could My Baby Have a Tongue or Lip Tie?

   TongueTie

When wondering if your baby might have a tongue tie or lip tie, many questions arise.

Diagnosis is something only done by licensed medical providers, such as pediatricians, lactation consultants, dentists and specialists in orofacial myofunctional therapy.

When someone is tongue-tied, they need to have their tongue released through a simple surgical procedure called a frenectomy. If a surgery is indicated, your dentist or your oral surgeon can do it.

 

How Can We Help?

If surgery is needed, it is crucial to perform a series of exercises before and after the procedure. We give patients specific exercises to practice in the two weeks leading up to surgery. The most important day however, is the one after surgery. At this point, I check that everything is healing properly, and introduce additional exercises to strengthen and develop the tongue’s new mobility.

So many people don't do therapy, have the surgery done but are unhappy with the results because the muscles in the tongue have actually never been used properly. These muscles need to be activated through therapy so that the tongue doesn’t heal back into its original place.

I coordinate my therapy with your dentist or oral surgeon to make sure that your treatment is timed perfectly. If you have any questions regarding our services or your personalized treatment options, feel free to contact us!

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