When someone is having trouble vocalizing their thoughts, it is often said that they are “tongue-tied.” But did you know that tongue tie is an actual medical condition? It refers to an anatomical defect in the mouth that can affect speech, eating, and more. On this page, we discuss what tongue tie is, how you can recognize its symptoms, and how our team can treat this troublesome condition.
Pretty much everyone has a piece of tissue that connects the bottom of their tongue to the floor of their mouth. This piece of tissue, called the lingual frenulum, is supposed to allow the tongue to have a free range of motion. When the frenulum is too thick or short, however, it restricts the tongue’s movement, resulting in the condition that is commonly called tongue tie.
Left untreated, tongue tie has the potential to lead to a host of difficulties for those babies. The problems will only continue as they grow to adulthood.
Common signs and symptoms of tongue tie in babies and children include:
Adults may learn to cope with some tongue tie-related issues. However, they may still experience a number of problems, including:
In most unborn children, the lingual frenulum separates before birth, allowing the baby’s tongue to move freely. In some cases, that separation does not occur, leading to tongue tie. There are no proven, specific risk factors for tongue tie, but some studies indicate that genetics are a major influencer. Other research suggests that if a mother does not intake enough folic acid during pregnancy, the risk of tongue tie may be increased.
Treating tongue tie is fairly simple. We use a soft tissue laser to separate the lingual frenulum. The procedure, known as a frenectomy, is quick and comfortable. Babies are encouraged to breastfeed immediately after their frenectomy.
Older children and adults who undergo a frenectomy may need some myofunctional therapy both before and after their procedure to help them learn to use their tongue correctly. For example, they may need training on how to hold their tongue in its proper resting position so it will not push the teeth out of alignment. We are proud to offer myofunctional therapy right here at Pearl Care Dental.
Are you or a loved one suffering from tongue tie? Contact our team today to find out how we may be able to help!