Not all of us are familiar with a tongue tie in adults. How is it going to affect the lives of adults? Will there be a treatment available to address this condition? If you have any oral health concerns right now, feel free to click here.
What are tongue ties?
Tongue ties are conditions occur during childhood. It is a serious condition that can affect eating, speech, and even breathing. Even sticking out the tongue will have difficulty. If you neglect this condition, the child will carry it over until the adulthood stage. Furthermore, it can develop other oral health issues that will immensely affect them later on.
A tongue tie has the medical term “ankyloglossia”. From childhood, it affects the tongue’s range of motion. The tongue can either be unusually short, thick, or a tight band of tissue which causes the tie of the tongue’s bottom to the mouth’s floor.
Initial symptoms that you can look into identifying tongue ties are the following:
- The child is experiencing difficulty lifting the tongue to the upper teeth. It will also be hard for them even to move the tongue sideways.
- You will notice that they cannot stick their tongue past their lower front teeth. It can even constantly push against the front teeth.
- Despite the ability to stick out their tongue past the front teeth, you will notice that the tongue appears notched or heart-shaped.
- You can see that their front teeth in the lower jaw have a gap.
If you work out a tongue tie while they are still kids, it will incur more oral problems when they become adults. We have stated some of the potential oral issues they have to face during the adult stage. You can also watch this video to help you figure out if you have a tongue tie.
Result of untreated tongue ties
During adulthood, an untreated tongue can develop oral issues that will be harder to address.
- Poor oral health: Having a tongue tie puts a limitation on saliva production. In effect, the mouth will become dry. Bacteria can quickly grow inside the mouth, which can later build plaque. It will result in developing cavities and gum diseases. Furthermore, the risk is higher for patients with ankyloglossia.
- TMJ dysfunction: The movement of the tongue plays a vital role during teeth development and placement inside the mouth. Additionally, it also has an impact on the structure of the jaw. Ankyloglossia usually leads the patient to have a reduced mouth size, jaw, and palate. This condition, it can cause severe jaw and neck pain. It can even be challenging to move the jaw and might experience a jaw lock.
- Sleep apnea: With ankyloglossia, the oral structures and airway passage become smaller than the standard size. There can occur a blockage in the airway, which can lead to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It can even be a factor to have a heart attack or stroke.
- Speech issues: This condition will be the most evident effect of ankyloglossia. It won’t be easy to pronounce words. Even pronouncing plosive sounds will be intricate for them, which can lead to a lisp.
Now that you know a tongue tie’s potential effects, will you still not consider proceeding with a treatment? This article also contains the treatment options applicable for a tongue tie.
Treatment options for tongue tie
We have two options on how to address tongue ties. The earlier you bring your kids to this treatment, the higher the opportunity to reduce the risk of developing oral issues associated with it.
- Frenotomy: This procedure usually takes place inside a doctor’s clinic. You might not even need to take numbing drugs or anesthetics. It is the procedure wherein the doctor will cut the lingual frenulum. The doctor will do select this procedure if the frenulum is short or tight. They also call this procedure frenulotomy or frenulectomy.
- Frenuloplasty: This option is more extensive compared to frenotomy. Doctors choose this repair option if the frenulum is too thick, which frenotomy cannot accommodate. During this procedure, the patient will be under general anesthesia.
It would be better to have these procedures when they are still infants to work the tongue tie as soon as possible. If you chose to leave it untreated, the condition can worsen more than you could think of when they become adults.
If the adults successfully worked out their tongues’ condition, they can start doing post exercises after releasing the tongue. They should regularly practice these exercises to keep their tongue active.
Tongue exercises after treatment
The tongue is a group of muscles as well. Exercising the tongue after its release will help it adjust and reach its full range of movements. It can even help lower the possibility of scarring.
- Stick your tongue straight out.
- Try moving it up as if it will touch your nose.
- Move your tongue sideways up to the maximum extent that you can—same as upwards and downwards movement.
Do these exercises for at least 10 seconds, three times each. You can ask your doctor how frequently and when should you do these exercises. Another critical point here is speech problems. Tongue tie also causes speech problems, so the patient will even have to work for it.
To address the speech issue, the patient can start by saying particular words they are troubled with. They don’t have to rush things to correct their speech. It would take some time and effort to do this since they have been in a tongue tie for an extended period already. Aside from this practice, they can even ask support from a Speech and Language Therapist to help them out.
Moreover, tongue tie also affected the facial muscles. For this reason, they can enroll in Myofunctional Facial Therapy. It will improve the function and their facial appearance.
It would be best to treat a tongue tie while they are young. This way, they would be able to avoid complications when they become adults. Addressing it as earlier as possible will also help them adjust better to it. Aside from that, you can apply immediate exercises and undergo other associated therapy to quicken the improvement.
This tongue condition may seem problematic initially, but it would be worse if you continue neglecting it. Worse cases can develop once they become adults. These conditions are harder to work out and might even take more time.
Generally speaking, you will then make actions later, so it would be better to do it now. You don’t need to wait until they reach adulthood and gain more oral issues to work on. You have to know that it cannot only affect them physically but psychologically as well. It can affect their mental condition, especially if they experience bullying because of the situation. As a result, they can develop social anxiety and even lose self-confidence to do what they love.
Work it out now! Don’t let your kids suffer this until their adulthood. Exerting efforts now is better than regretting it later on. Make a change now and improve their oral situation.