Tongue and Lip-Tied
Is your child tongue-tied?
“Tongue-tied” is the common name for ankyloglossia — when the lingual frenum (the thin piece of skin under your tongue that connects it to the bottom of your mouth) is too short or too far forward. In many cases, it is completely harmless. However, in some children, it can cause problems with speech development, eating, and swallowing.
To prevent these problems, your pediatrician or dentist may recommend a frenectomy or a functional frenuloplasty, myofunctional therapy, or another tongue-tie treatment.
Why should my child get a tongue-tie release?
The lingual frenum is an important piece of skin because it anchors your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. It varies in length from person to person, and when it is too short or too far forward, it can inhibit the tongue’s movement too much, which can in turn lead to oral health issues or disrupt sleep. Being tongue-tied can be troublesome in the early stages of development for infants and children.
- Some infants who are tongue-tied have trouble breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle
- Tongue-tied toddlers and children can have trouble eating and swallowing
- Some children who are tongue-tied have trouble making certain sounds when learning to speak
Naturally, when a child has problems eating and swallowing, it can affect their ability to get proper nutrition. A frenectomy would therefore be an essential procedure for their overall health and well-being.
What is a frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a simple procedure that is a form of tongue-tie release. The doctor numbs the area and cuts the frenum just enough to allow the tongue to move more freely and naturally. The procedure is done using a local anesthetic and normally takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish. Your child will experience very little discomfort during the procedure.
What is a functional frenuloplasty?
A functional frenuloplasty is another form of tongue-tie release. It’s different from a frenectomy because it only alters the frenulum, as opposed to completely removing it. This is done by snipping the frenulum just enough to loosen it and increase the mobility of the tongue for full range of motion. Similar to a frenectomy, the procedure does not take longer than 15 minutes to perform and has a very high success rate.
Recovery is typically very straightforward. We recommend that you make sure the area under the tongue stays clean and that your child eats softer foods until it is completely healed, which typically takes a week.
After a frenectomy, activities such as breastfeeding, bottle feeding, eating, and swallowing should become easier. Speech development issues should begin to improve, as well. Your child’s tongue will be able to move freely and naturally, without restriction or pain.
- FEEDING ISSUES
- Difficulty swallowing
- Infant falls asleep while attempting to nurse
- Trouble latching
- Milk or formula leaks/spills out of mouth while feeding
- Upper lip curts inward when latched
- Gumming or chewing on nipple while nursing
- Noticeable clicking noise while feeding
- Dissatisfied after nursing/feeding
- FUNCTIONAL ISSUES
- Acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux)
- Mouth open at rest
- Extreme gas
- Slow or poor weight gain
- Noticeable pain or tightness
- Colic symptoms
- Facial tension
- Neck tension
- Forward head posture
- Sore when eating
- Tightness under chin
- Base of skull pain
- Difficulty speaking
- Mouth breathing
- Sleep issues
Take Our QuestionnaireSymptom Checker
Could you benefit from myofunctional therapy?
Do you or your child snore at night or have trouble sleeping? Do you experience chronic congestion, mouth breathing or persistent oral health issues?
If so, you might benefit from myofunctional therapy.
What is myofunctional therapy?
Myofunctional therapy focuses on the facial muscles and soft tissues of the face and neck, including the tongue. The goal is to train these muscles to behave as they were intended for optimal orofacial posture.
When children develop improper orofacial posture, it can affect their health in various ways as they grow, including:
- Inadequate facial skeletal development
- Difficulties chewing and swallowing
- Speech impediment
- Misaligned jaw and teeth
- Mouth breathing
- Persistent oral health issues
Dr. Klauer often encourages patients to read this article to learn more about myofunctional therapy.
Through myofunctional therapy, you’ll notice improvements in your teeth and jaw alignment, breathing, speech, chewing, and swallowing. Additionally, you’ll experience better sleep, as well as better overall function of the mouth and nose.
What other lip and tongue-tie treatments do we offer?
- All additional treatments can be offered individually or in tandem with surgical or laser procedures to bolster your healing journey in a holistic manner. Treatments include:
- Myofunctional therapy techniques – Buteyko breathing
- Habit elimination – nail biting, lip licking, and thumb sucking
- Posture training – exercises to support proper tongue resting posture
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