It’s a common phrase, but it’s also a hereditary oral condition that should be treated by a professional.
Everyone is born with tissue under their tongue that tethers the tongue to the bottom of their mouth. This tissue is called the frenulum, and it doesn’t cause problems for most people. However, 4 to 10 percent of babies are born with tongue-tie (or ankyloglossia), a condition characterized by an overly tight or thick frenulum.
Sometimes this problem resolves itself when the frenulum simply stretches out naturally. But when tongue-tie persists, it can cause complications into the crucial years of development.
The pressure the tongue exerts actually helps shape the oral cavity during the early years of life. So, when the tongue cannot properly rest or move in the mouth, the growth of the facial structure is impacted.
The roof of the mouth can become misshapen, and along with that comes misaligned teeth. The lower jaw’s growth is also hindered, which can lead to difficulty with speaking and breathing.
Sleep apnea, caused by the tongue obstructing the body’s airways at night, is another condition that can arise. Impaired breathing while sleeping can lead to a host of problems, including:
Despite all the problems tongue-tie can cause, it can be solved with a fairly quick medical procedure, followed by some additional care.
During a frenectomy, a professional releases the tongue by removing the frenulum. Afterward, the tongue has the potential to reach a greater and more natural range of motion. Just like any underused muscle in the body, the patient will have to exercise the tongue to strengthen it. Myofunctional therapy is a series of activities intended to workout the tongue and facial muscles and ultimately improve the patient’s overall health.
At Millenium Smiles, Dr. Dunia Korous offers the Myobrace system to help young patients develop good oral habits and promote healthy mouth and jaw development.