Tongue tie in babies is a condition at birth that restricts the tongue’s movement. It happens when the frenulum, a small tag of skin that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth, is too thick or short. Doctors and lactation consultants now recognize that having a tongue tie can seriously affect breastfeeding and other aspects of developmental growth such as speech, chewing and swallowing.
Breastfeeding and Tongue Tie
Have you ever seen a baby nurse? They are like a little bird, widely opening their mouth, latching onto the food source, and using their tongue, in a back-and-forth motion, to extract the milk. When the tongue is restricted, it can’t efficiently pull out the milk. The baby will be frantically sucking with little results.
A tongue tie in an infant will also affect the mom. The restricted tongue doesn’t work like a normal tongue. Instead of long extended motions, it has tiny little movements, which tend to rub on the same area causing rawness and discomfort. This can also attribute to engorgement, mastitis and plugged milk ducts.
How Do You Fix a Tongue Tie?
A tongue tie can be treated by snipping or cutting the frenulum. This procedure is referred to as Lingual Frenuloplasty and is very fast and simple. Don’t let the word “snipping” scare you. Babies cry very little during the procedure and moms often notice an immediate improvement in their ability to nurse.
What Happens if Tongue Tie Goes Untreated?
The consequences of an untreated tongue tie can be many and varied. For growing infants, it can impact things like:
Inability to chew solid foods
Persistence of drooling
Delayed development of speech
Dental problems starting to appear
Loss of self-confidence because they feel and sound ‘different’
Strong, incorrect habits of compensation being acquired
If your baby is having difficulty latching or staying attached to your breast and is not gaining the proper weight, consult your doctor or dentist. They will help you figure out if your baby’s tongue-tie is the culprit and the best course for treatment.
How tongue thrust causes orthodontic issues and the best treatment for it. Tongue thrust appears when the tongue protrudes too far forward in the mouth, which can bring about a condition called open bite.
Tongue thrust is more common in children than adults, though on rare occasions it can develop later in life. It can be attributed to improper swallowing, tongue-tie, thumb-sucking and even swollen tonsils from chronic allergies.
Here are some common signs of tongue thrust:
Open bite – the front teeth don’t meet properly when the teeth are closed.
Mouth breathing – breathing out of the mouth instead of the nose.
Difficulty eating and swallowing.
Difficulty pronouncing certain letters.
The tongue is visible between the teeth even when a person is resting.
If left untreated, tongue thrust can cause misshapen teeth. As the tongue pushes against the back of the teeth,
the teeth begin to shift outward. Over time gaps or spaces form between the
teeth. These gaps are responsible for speech impediments,
the tongue to stick out between the teeth and can cause the face to elongate.
Myofunctional therapy is a proven treatment for tongue thrust.
The goal of myofunctional therapy is to establish a normal resting
position where the lips and teeth close properly and the tip of the tongue
does not push against the front teeth. This
is an ongoing therapy with simple exercises designed to help a person:
Be more aware of how their mouth is moving
Use their tongue and mouth muscles properly when eating, drinking and speaking
Pronounce letters more clearly
Correct how they swallow and chew
Practice different breathing patterns
If a child’s tongue thrust has advanced to an open bite or
other orthodontic issues, myofunctional orthodontics may be needed. This
treatment involves the use of soft, rubber oral appliances, rather than
traditional fixed braces.
If you suspect that you or your child has tongue thrust or
any other oral related issue, myofunctional therapy offers a wide range of treatments
for conditions such as mouth breathing, speech disorders, sleep apnea,
tongue-tie, and teeth grinding.
Please don’t hesitate to call today 505-293-7611. The team of Dr. Abeyta is dedicated to working with children and adults to correct tongue thrust. Healthy teeth and jaws translates to a pretty smile, healthy breathing, and healthy body.
Functional Frenuloplasty for Tongue-Tie is a mouthful, but if you or someone you know has a tongue-tie, this procedure is beneficial for several reasons.
Tongue-tie can have a huge impact on oral health. There is a small band of tissue connecting
the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This
band is referred to as a frenum. Frenums
are located on the underside of the cheeks and lips. Sometimes, the frenum that is underneath the
tongue is too short, restricting the tongue’s range of motion. This affects breathing, speech, swallowing
and the muscles in your face and jaw.
Here is a list of conditions related to tongue-tie:
Breast-feeding requires a baby to keep their tongue over the lower gum while sucking. If the baby is unable to keep the tongue in the correct position. This interferes with the baby’s ability to drink. Poor breast-feeding can lead to inadequate nutrition and failure to thrive.
Sleep apnea has been linked to tongue-tie.
Tongue-tie can interfere with the speech.
TMJ disorder, headaches and backaches have been associated with tongue-tie.
Tongue-tie can interfere with “licking” functions such as eating a lollypop or playing a wind instrument.
The tongue “posture” can become out of alignment.
How many times when you were growing up did you hear your mom or dad say “sit up straight” or “stand up straight”? Ensuring proper tongue posture goes a long way to maintaining oral health just like standing up straight goes a long way to maintaining correct posture.
Proper posture is when the teeth are together, the lips seal
and the tongue rests gently against the palate. People who have good posture breathe correctly,
in and out through their nose. People
who have tongue-tie tend to “gulp” air and breath in and out through their
mouth. A person with tongue-tie is also
more likely to develop a sleep disorder because their airways can’t remain
opening while asleep.
For infants, having a tongue-tie corrected may increase the
ability to breastfeed, enabling all the benefits that come from nursing.
For adults, having a Functional Frenuloplasty procedure is
almost an instant release of tension, with many patience reporting relief from
Sometimes just the frenuloplasty procedure is not enough.
People who have been living with a tongue-tie may need to
address the negative habits that have developed over a lifetime. Combining frenuloplasty with myofunctional
therapy treatment has been proven to be very successful in restoring oral
Myofunction Therapy consists of a series of simple exercises that work the muscles of the face and mouth, as well as the tongue. When these muscles are activated and functioning properly, other muscles will follow suit until proper coordination of the tongue and facial muscles are restored.
If you would like more information about tongue-tie or Functional Frenuloplasty call the office of Dr. Abeyta at (505) 293-7611 or contact us.