A tongue tie is a condition where the bottom of the tongue is attached too close to the lower surface of the mouth, limiting the movement of the tongue. This condition affects roughly 1 in 50 babies. It can create problems with breastfeeding and with speech development. In some cases, it can even cause improper alignment of the teeth. A dentist or pediatrician can diagnose this condition and provide treatment if needed.
What Are the Symptoms of Tongue Tie?
It is important to diagnose and correct a tongue tie early because a baby with a tongue tie may suffer from the following issues:
- Feeding problems due to difficulty latching on to breastfeeding or bottle feeding the baby. Babies with tongue ties have difficulty sucking and swallowing and may not be able to get milk from a bottle. A baby may also choke or gag when feeding.
- Difficulty breastfeeding at night because the baby cannot latch on to the mother’s nipple.
- Teeth grinding or teeth clenching while sleeping. The constant pressure on the gums can impact the development of teeth and the shape of the mouth.
- Breathing difficulties because the tight tissue restricts the tongue’s movement across the palate. As a result, the child has trouble breathing through the nose while the jaw is resting in a forward position.
- Speech delays or disorders because the muscles of the tongue are strained due to the restricted ability to move properly.
These symptoms can interfere with a child’s ability to grow and develop normally. Correcting the tongue tie can help minimize these symptoms and improve the health of the child’s mouth, teeth, and body overall.
What Are the Treatment Options For Tongue Tie?
There are two main kinds of tongue tie releases: the Frenulectomy and the Lingual Frenotomy. A Frenulectomy removes part of the frenum or the entire frenum, while a Lingual Frenotomy cuts through the frenum. Our dentist can help you determine which one is right for your child.
Frenectomy: To perform a frenum release, the dentist will use either a scalpel or a CO2 laser to remove the frenum from under the baby’s tongue. According to the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, this procedure should only be done when there’s a medical need, such as if it affects feeding.
Lingual Frenotomy: During this procedure, the tongue is separated from the floor of the mouth to release the frenum. No cutting occurs, and no bleeding occurs, making it much less invasive than a full frenectomy. After the procedure, your baby may need to drink through a straw and chew gum to help their mouth heal.
Myofunctional Therapy and Tongue Tie Release
Tongue Tie Release needs a multidisciplinary team to facilitate and optimize treatment outcomes. At Sleep Health Partners, Dr. Karim is creating a network of specialists, including myofunctional therapists, orthodontists, and speech therapists who work together to help treat those with tongue ties.
Basically, myofunctional therapy involves exercises that train the orofacial muscles to work harmoniously together. The advantages offered by the therapy include easy breathing, a proper bite, and correct facial posture.
Patients who undergo a frenectomy for tongue-tie release can benefit from myofunctional therapy both before and after a frenectomy. The therapy can support patients in addressing and conquering harmful oral habits like mouth breathing and poor posture that were the result of their tongue tie.
- Myofunctional Therapy Before a Frenectomy
If you are a patient with a tongue tie and are thinking about addressing it with a frenectomy, the initial step of your treatment process is a consultation with Dr. Karim. He will assess the severity of your tongue tie and may refer you to a myofunctional therapist who will work to strengthen your tongue and train the surrounding muscles through myofunctional techniques. This therapy and proper compliance with the prescribed at-home exercises can relieve some symptoms of tongue tie even before the frenectomy.
- Myofunctional Therapy After a Frenectomy
After the frenectomy, the patient may need further myofunctional therapy to help the tongue and mouth achieve proper function. For example, the therapy can strengthen the tongue, encourage mouth breathing, and promote proper swallowing.
Besides myofunctional therapy, the patient may also need other types of dental treatments like orthodontics after a frenectomy to address the dental misalignment, if any, that was caused by improper tongue positioning. In some cases, the patient may need speech therapy as well.
What Are the Benefits of Tongue Tie Release?
There are several benefits to releasing the tongue tie in your child’s mouth. It can improve their ability to breastfeed and swallow, which can help them avoid common oral issues such as crowded teeth or an overbite. It can also prevent speech delay, difficulty chewing, ear infections, and other potential issues.
If left untreated, it can cause a number of problems for your child’s oral health. By addressing this issue early, you can protect your child from unnecessary complications later on in life. When you come to our office for this procedure, we will carefully review your child’s medical history to make sure they are a good candidate for the procedure.
To learn more about our services for tongue-tie release, call us at (971) 339-0816 or visit the Sleep Health Partners office at 9370 SW Greenburg Rd, Suite 422 Rd Suite 422, Portland 97223.