Treating Tongue Tie with Functional Frenuloplasty
Tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition that occurs when the lingual frenulum – the small piece of skin that connects the bottom of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth – is too thick, too short, or attached too far up on the tongue. In cases of tongue tie, the lingual frenulum restricts the motion of the tongue. There is evidence-based research to show the impact of restricted tongue range of motion on the under-development of the upper jaw. Tongue tie is also associated with chronic mouth breathing, nasal congestion, and obstructive sleep apnea.
The most common treatment for tongue tie is a surgery called a lingual frenuloplasty. Dr. Abeyta’s technique for lingual frenuloplasty is based on precision; releasing the appropriate amount of tissue for maximal relief – not too much, and not too little
Alongside surgery, Dr. Abeyta integrates myofunctional therapy, and sometimes craniosacral therapy, both before, during, and after surgery.
Addressing the compensatory muscular and joint tension through manual therapy can significantly help optimize rehabilitation in cases of tongue tie.
Myofunctional therapy is a program used to correct the improper function of the tongue and facial muscles. Myofunctional therapy involves strengthening the tongue and orofacial muscles by teaching individuals how to reposition muscles to the appropriate posture.
Individuals with predominant mouth breathing or insufficient habitual nasal breathing often develop maladaptive habits and patterns of orofacial function. These bad habits may impact various conditions, including improper facial skeletal growth, sleep-disordered breathing, nasal obstruction, oral hygiene and dental problems, teeth grinding, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, neck and shoulder tension, speech problems, facial esthetics, and more.
Proper diagnosis allows for targeted and effective physical therapy exercises for oral posture retraining. These exercises promote better health with goals to improve breathing, reduce pain, and enhance quality of life. Please refer to Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy for a more detailed explanation on the impact of maladaptive orofacial posturing on maxillofacial growth and development. You can visit their page here.
Let’s look at some treatment options for a few of the most common orofacial myofunctional disorders:
Myofunctional therapy for TMD
Temporomandibular disorder, or TMD, is a painful condition that affects the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. This is the joint where the jaw meets the skull.
For sufferers of TMD, myofunctional therapy can help retrain, strengthen, and rehabilitate the muscles of the face and jaw, offering them pain relief and increased TMJ health.
Research into orofacial myofunctional disorders continues to reveal the deep interconnectedness of the muscles and systems of the face, mouth, jaw, and airway. Many OMDs and maladaptive habits may cause or contribute to TMD, and vice versa. Myofunctional therapy allows dental professionals to address this web of interconnected issues and provide relief for those who suffer from OMDs.
Myofunctional therapy for tongue thrust
Tongue thrust occurs when the tongue rests too far forward, pressing against the teeth. Since it causes malocclusion and an open bite in children, tongue thrust is often first diagnosed due to its affect on the teeth.
Fortunately, tongue thrust can be treated with myofunctional therapy. Sometimes called tongue thrust therapy, this treatment consists of a regimen of exercises designed to retrain the tongue so that it has proper posture. Myofunctional therapy can be used to successfully treat the majority of tongue thrust cases. Once the posture of the tongue has been retrained, the patient can use orthodontics to correct any bite issues.
Research has shown the impact of restricted tongue range of motion on the under-development of the upper jaw. Tongue thrust is also associated with chronic mouth breathing, nasal congestion, and obstructive sleep apnea.
Growth Guidance Therapy for Children
Dr Abeyta can evaluate if your child is growing appropriately. She may recommend growth guidance treatment, a treatment that helps facilitate bigger jaws, bigger airways, and least important but most noticeable, straight teeth.