Does your child…
-Speak softly (mumble) or struggle to be understood?
-Exhibit slow or picky eating?
-Choke or gag on liquids or foods?
-Have a strong gag reflex?
-Show signs of a speech delay or other speech issues?
-Grind teeth at night, snore, or sleep with his mouth open?
-Have neck and back pain?
-Breathe through your mouth?
These could all be signs of a tongue tie. That little piece of fibrous tissue under your tongue can be the cause of more problems than you think. The tongue is partially responsible for signaling the growth of the jaws, which affects maxillary sinuses and your airway. This explains why a tongue restriction can cause all of the above problems!
One of the most important is nasal breathing. When you breathe through your nose, the air is warmed and disinfected, and your body makes a gas called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is important in helping your body use oxygen more efficiently. When you breathe through your mouth, your body is not making as much nitric oxide. Snoring is your body’s way of telling you that you’re not getting enough oxygen! “Restless sleep” can also be a sign that you’re not getting enough oxygen…your body is constantly waking you up so that you can breathe better.
There are many causes of the above symptoms, but a tongue tie is one of the easiest to treat. With no need for sedation, you can be in and out of the dentist’s chair more quickly than it takes to have a cleaning done. Usually, the underside of the tongue is numbed with local anesthetic (just like when a cavity is filled) and a laser is used to release the tongue tie. It takes less than 5 minutes, with no bleeding and no stitches. Afterward, it will be a little sore (like if you burnt your tongue on a hot drink) and there are some stretching exercises to do.
In older children and adults, a visit to a myofunctional therapist, speech therapist or chiropractor may be needed to overcome the ways our bodies have compensated over time to this restriction.
Come in today to ask us to evaluate you or your child’s tongue tie!
More information about Tongue Ties:
Dr. Lawrence Kotlow
-Tethered oral tissues as a differential diagnostic tool in infants and toddlers presenting with obstructive sleep apnoea and air induced reflux. AMJ 2019;12(5):131–137. https://doi.org/10.21767/AMJ.2019.3579
Dr. Richard Baxter
-Tongue-Tied: How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Speech, Feeding, and More