What is the function of a human tongue?
Your tongue works along with your teeth, lips and mouth to taste, chew, and swallow food. Your teeth help your tongue grind food as the tongue mixes the food around your mouth. Without your teeth, lips, and the roof of your mouth, your tongue wouldn’t be able to form sounds to make words. Saliva is needed for the proper functioning of the tongue.
What is Tongue Tie?
Underneath the tongue, you can see a string of tissue that attaches it to the floor of the mouth. In tongue-tie, this piece of tissue, called the lingual frenulum, is too short. This can cause problems because the tongue is not able to move freely. The medical name for tongue-tie is ankyloglossia.
Does your child have a Tongue Tie problem? We can help! (905) 331-7654
Tongue Tie and Breastfeeding
Sometimes your family physician may identify a tongue-tie problem during your baby’s first routine check-up at birth. Dr. Sherri Hill (Burlington Dentist) can also identify it during your child’s first dental assessment. A tongue-tie is not always easy to spot. It may not be found until later, for example, if your baby has feeding difficulties. Tongue-tie often results in ineffective milk removal. Mothers may experience nipple soreness, pain, engorgement and plugged ducts due to milk back-up. Babies may experience low weight gain, slow feeding or refuse to feed. A tongue-tie will affect your baby’s latch. A frenotomy may be necessary to prevent early breastfeeding cessation. Watch the following video for more information.
If you and your baby are finding breastfeeding difficult, please book a tongue-tie check-up with Dr. Sherri Hill today! (905) 331-7654
Surgical treatment options for Tongue Tie:
At Appleby Dental Professionals we offer three options to treat Tongue Tie problems:
- Snipping the frenum (sometimes referred to as ‘frenotomy’) of neonates.
- Surgical revision of the frenum (sometimes referred to as ‘frenectomy’, ‘frenulectomy’, or ‘frenuloplasty’)
- Revision of the frenum by laser with a local or topical anaesthetic.
All these methods are equally successful when used in appropriate circumstances.
Consequences of untreated tongue-tie:
Many suffer in silence the multiple difficulties, which derive from having a tongue that cannot move freely. There are infants who cannot suck, toddlers who cannot chew, children who cannot lick ice creams, and children and adults who are disadvantaged by their poor speech.
The consequences of an untreated Tongue Tie can be many and varied, depending largely on the age of the subject and the severity of the condition. The demands made on our increase, as we grow older, and our environment becomes less forgiving of mistakes. Delay in treatment, therefore, can have very negative consequences.
For Children & Teens
Children with a Tongue Tie have to contend with difficulties which may only be discovered as they grow older. These can include:
- Inability to chew age-appropriate solid foods
- Gagging, choking or vomiting foods
- Persisting food fads
- Difficulties related to dental hygiene
- Persistence of dribbling
- Delayed development of speech
- Deterioration in speech
- Behaviour problems
- Dental problems starting to appear
- Loss of self-confidence because they feel and sound ‘different’
- Strong, incorrect habits of compensation being acquired
The consequences of unrepaired tongue-tie do not reduce with time – instead, more difficulties are experienced as time passes and social, professional, dental and emotional outlooks are negatively affected.
The specific challenges an adult with a Tongue Tie may face include:
- The inability to open the mouth widely affects speech and eating habits.
- Always having to watch their speech
- Inability to speak clearly when talking fast/loud/soft
- Difficulty talking after even moderate amounts of alcohol
- Clicking jaws
- Pain in the jaws
- Migraine Headaches
- Protrusion of the lower jaws
- Professional setbacks
- Loss of self-confidence in social situations, eating out, kissing, relationships
- Poor Dental health, higher risk for gum disease, tooth decay and extractions
- Poor aesthetic appearance
- Emotional factors resulting in rising levels of stress