Can Dentists Fix An Adult Tongue Tie?

March 15, 2024
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Your tongue helps you talk, eat, and do all sorts of routine things. But sometimes, it’s like it’s wearing a tight cape, holding it back from functioning properly. That’s what we call an adult tongue tie.

It’s when the little piece of skin under your tongue, called the frenulum, is too tight, making it hard for your tongue to move freely. It might sound funny, but it can cause problems with speaking, eating, and even breathing.

Signs of Tongue Tie in Adults

Signs of tongue tie in adults can vary, but the following are some common ones to look out for:

  • Difficulty Speaking Clearly: If you find it challenging to pronounce certain sounds or words clearly, especially those involving the tongue’s movement, it could be a sign of tongue tie.
  • Difficulty Eating Certain Foods: Tongue tie can affect how well you can move your tongue, making it difficult to chew or swallow certain types of food, particularly those that require significant tongue movement.
  • Speech Difficulties Since Childhood: If you have experienced speech difficulties since childhood and haven’t improved, it might be due to an undiagnosed tongue tie that carried into adulthood.
  • Chronic Mouth Breathing: Tongue tie can sometimes affect the positioning of the tongue, leading to chronic mouth breathing instead of nasal breathing, especially during sleep.
  • Receding Gums or Gum Problems: In some cases, tongue ties can contribute to gum problems, such as receding gums, due to improper tongue positioning and pressure on the gums.
  • Difficulty Moving the Tongue: It could be a sign of tongue tie if you find it challenging to move your tongue freely, such as sticking it out past your lips or reaching certain areas of your mouth.
  • Persistent Jaw or Neck Pain: A tongue tie can sometimes trigger offset movements or tension in the jaw and neck muscles, resulting in persistent pain or discomfort.

Benefits of Tongue Tie Release in Adults

Releasing tongue tie in adults, also known as a frenectomy, can offer several benefits:

  • Improved Speech: Tongue tie can affect speech clarity and pronunciation. Releasing it can lead to better articulation and fluency.
  • Enhanced Oral Hygiene: Tongue tie can make it difficult to clean the mouth thoroughly, leading to plaque buildup and gum disease. Releasing it allows for better access to oral hygiene practices, promoting healthier teeth and gums.
  • Reduced Jaw and Neck Tension: A tongue tie can develop tension in the jaw and neck muscles as the body compensates for restricted tongue movement. Releasing it can alleviate these discomforts and promote better posture.
  • Enhanced Eating and Swallowing: Tongue tie can affect the ability to chew and swallow food comfortably, leading to digestive issues and discomfort. Releasing it can improve food manipulation and swallowing function.
  • Reduced Risk of Dental Issues: Tongue tie can elevate dental issues such as tooth decay, gum recession, and misalignment. Releasing it can help prevent these problems and promote better dental health.
  • Easy Breathing: Tongue tie can affect breathing patterns, especially during sleep, resulting in snoring or sleep apnea. Releasing it can improve airflow and breathing efficiency.

How Can Dentists Help in Releasing an Adult Tongue Tie?

When treating an adult tongue tie, you can have two options. You can go for a Frenectomy or consult an airway mouth doctor for a second opinion. A frenectomy is a surgical procedure dentists perform to release a tongue tie in adults.

During the procedure, the restrictive band of tissue, known as the lingual frenulum, which connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, is carefully cut or lasered to improve tongue mobility.

This allows for a better range of motion, addressing speech impediments, difficulty swallowing, and oral hygiene concerns. Frenectomy is often a quick and minimally invasive procedure, offering patients improved functionality and relief from associated symptoms.

Final Thoughts on Adult Tongue Tie

Tongue ties, whether in children or adults, can negatively affect life quality. Your tongue is supposed to move freely inside your mouth. Anything that restricts its movement needs to be addressed.

You can visit Dr. Felix at Whole Health Dental Center for a second opinion service. Sometimes, conventional dentistry can fail to provide the right treatment. Call us at (703) 385-6425 to book an appointment.

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