Image by Nicole Elliott
Image by Nicole Elliott

Tongue Ties

The tongue is connected to the floor of the mouth by a band of tissue called the frenulum. Everyone has a frenulum, you can see yours when you lift your tongue up towards the roof of your mouth.

Sometimes, this band of tissue is too tight or short, restricting the tongue's range of motion. A restricted frenulum is referred to as a Tongue Tie, or Ankyloglossia.

When someone is tongue tied, their tongue is held down to the floor of their mouth. This makes it impossible to achieve the proper correct tongue resting posture, in the roof of the mouth. This means that anyone who has a Tongue Tie, also suffers from an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD), and therefore requires Myofunctional Therapy.

Releasing Tongue Ties

Tongue Ties are released through a procedure called a Frenectomy or Lingual Frenuloplasty. These procedures are a relatively minor procedure and are usually performed by a Dentist, Oral Surgeon or Ear Nose & Throat Specialist.

You've probably heard of this procedure being performed on babies with issues breastfeeding. However; emerging research is showing life changing results from having tongue ties released in older children and adults, when performed PROPERLY.

You see, preparation and post op care for a tongue tie release is much different in older children and adults than it is for a newborn baby. Newborn babies usually will go straight from their tongue tie release back to the breast, exercising all of the muscles of the face and tongue immediately afterwards.

Kids and Adults don't get the same kind of muscle preparation and rehabilitation that breastfeeding babies would get. Instead, these patients require Myofunctional Therapy to best prepare the muscles for the release and to restore normal and optimal function of the tongue afterwards. Releasing the tongue tie alone will not correct the way that the tongue rests or functions in the mouth. 

Post Operative Exercises are also necessary for wound healing, to prevent re-attachment of the tongue tie and to prevent scar tissue.

For best practice, Myofunctional Therapy is done for 6-8 weeks prior to a tongue tie release procedure and for several months afterwards. Beginning with a Myofunctional Evaluation to assess your tongue's range of motion is the best place to start.