Tongue tie

The lingual frenulum is dynamic midline fold of the fascia of the floor of the mouth and mucosa (skin of the mouth).  It stretches from the floor of the mouth to the underside of the tongue and frenulums are also found under the lips and inside the cheeks.  These frenulum can sometimes be tight, short and thick and can restrict the tongue movement and function. This restriction is often referred to as ankyloglossia or being tongue tied.   

A tongue tie or oral restriction may contribute to:

  • breastfeeding issue for infants

  • breastfeeding symptoms for mothers (sore nipples, low supply, mastitis)

  • eating, chewing difficulties

  • speech alterations

  • dental and jaw problems (change to normal jaw growth patterns, diastemas, crowded teeth)

  • headaches, jaw pain

  • sleep disordered breathing

Oral restrictions sometimes need to be surgically corrected.  There are many terms used for this procedure and they do differ slightly -  frenotomy, frenectomy, and frenuloplasty.  There are many techniques and various health practitioners can provide this service.  Before any surgery is considered, a proper tongue function assessment should be made.

To adequately assess the tongue's function, the following should be considered:  how does the tongue move - range of motion (+ Tongue Range of Motion Ratios), what does the frenulum feel like, what does the frenulum look like, what are the patients symptoms and what compensations are noted during functional testing?   Assessing for a tongue tie is certainly not as simple as poking your tongue out and seeing if it extends past the lips.  There's a lot to consider.

Smile Tone therapists can provide a thorough tongue function/oral assessment (we advise infants to see an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant firstly), guide you through your tailored pre and post frenectomy (if required) exercise program and refer you to an appropriate health care provider for surgery.    

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Research

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