Understanding Tongue Tie and Myofunctional Therapy

Tongue tie, medically known as ankyloglossia, is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue's range of motion. It occurs when the lingual frenulum—a small band of tissue connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth—is too short, tight, or thick. This can lead to various issues, from breastfeeding difficulties in infants to speech problems in children and adults.

Symptoms and Impact

The symptoms and impacts of tongue tie vary across different age groups.

For infants, symptoms present are difficulty latching during breastfeeding, prolonged feeding times, poor weight gain, and gassiness. In children, there are often speech difficulties, trouble with tasks requiring tongue mobility (like licking an ice cream cone), dental issues, and difficulty eating certain foods. If tongue tie isn’t fixed early, adults can experience speech issues, jaw pain, dental problems, and challenges with oral hygiene.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination by a healthcare provider who assesses the tongue's appearance and movement. Here at Utah Breastfeeding and Tongue Tie, we offer thorough tongue tie evaluations, encompassing a full oral anatomical and functional assessment, along with a detailed review of medical and dental history.

Treatment options include speech therapy or myofunctional therapy, which can sometimes help improve tongue mobility and function without surgery. Or, if surgery is needed, a frenectomy or frenuloplasty might be performed to release the tongue. These procedures are generally quick and can be done with minimal discomfort.

We offer this surgical option at our office. The surgical procedure is done by a pediatric dentist using a CO2 LightScalpel™ laser. A consultation is included, where the doctor will perform an evaluation and diagnosis prior to procedure.

An Overview of Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional therapy is a specialized therapy focusing on the muscles of the mouth, face, and neck. It aims to improve the function of these muscles through exercises that target tongue placement, breathing, chewing, and swallowing. This therapy is beneficial for individuals with tongue tie as it can help retrain the tongue and improve its range of motion.

How Myofunctional Therapy Helps

For those with tongue tie, myofunctional therapy can offer several benefits.

For example, exercises designed to strengthen the tongue and improve its range of motion can alleviate the restrictions caused by tongue tie. Also, by working on tongue placement and muscle coordination, myofunctional therapy can help correct speech issues.

Furthermore, proper swallowing techniques can be developed, reducing the risk of dental problems and improving digestion. And as tongue posture is corrected, this can also reduce strain on the jaw and alleviate pain.

A Typical Myofunctional Therapy Session

At Utah Breastfeeding and Tongue Tie, we understand that myofunctional therapy isn't a sprint—it's a marathon to retrain those muscles that have been putting in overtime for ages. 

Although therapy is catered to each individual, there are four main goals of myofunctional therapy: nasal breathing, keeping lips sealed while breathing and at rest, correcting tongue posture, and correcting swallowing. We will create personalized treatment plans based around these objectives.

Come Visit Us Today

Addressing tongue tie and undergoing myofunctional therapy can significantly improve one's quality of life. 

If you or a loved one is dealing with tongue tie, visit Utah Breastfeeding and Tongue Tie for a consultation today. Myofunctional therapy might just be the key to unlocking better oral function and a healthier, happier life.