The presence of a tongue-tie restricts the tongue’s movement and ability to move forward and up, especially when the child is laying down or sleeping. As a way to make breathing easier, the child will begin to breathe through their mouth – which is unhealthy and can lead to many issues that can make breathing even harder, like inflamed adenoids and tonsils.
The tongue, in its proper position on the roof of the mouth, creates the force needed for the maxilla (midface) to develop properly – wide and forward. Since the roof of the mouth is also the floor of the nasal cavity, a properly developing (widening) maxilla will also create a wider, bigger nasal cavity space, making nasal breathing easier. Proper tongue position is vital to allow for proper nursing, assist in the development of a healthy airway, ensure that we have enough space for all of our teeth, establish proper TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) position and create proper facial balance, growth and aesthetics.
When the face doesn’t develop properly, the problem is much more than aesthetic. A smaller airway is directly correlated to health issues arising in childhood. Studies are showing a correlation between tongue-ties and childhood sleep apnea, which then becomes adult sleep apnea. As a child grows, a restricted airway increases the chances of asthma, allergies, and can decrease athletic performance. This is why it is so important for the tongue to be free to function properly, not only so the face will develop as it was designed to, but so healthy nasal breathing and airway development is established.
A frenectomy is a procedure that releases the band of fibrous tissue (frenum) located under tethered oral tissues (TOTS) such as the tongue or upper lip to improve the range of motion of these structures. This short procedure is typically completed using a soft tissue laser which “vaporizes” the tissue and minimizes bleeding. Healing is quicker and more efficient with a laser since it stimulates bio-regeneration.
Frenectomies may benefit infants, children, and adults by improving speech, airway, development, digestive, periodontal, and orthodontic issues.
CHILDREN, TEENS, ADULTS:
Tongue and lip tie releases can improve breathing by addressing restrictions in the oral cavity. When the ties are released, it allows the tongue to move freely, which can lead to better airway function. This can be especially beneficial for infants, children, and adults who may have experienced breathing difficulties due to restricted tongue movement. Improved breathing can enhance overall sleep quality and respiratory function.
Tongue and lip tie releases can positively impact speech clarity. Tongue ties, in particular, can affect speech production by limiting the tongue's range of motion, resulting in difficulties with articulation and pronunciation. By releasing these ties, individuals can experience improved speech development and articulation, leading to better communication and language skills.
Tongue and lip tie releases can contribute to better oral hygiene. Ties can create tight spaces between teeth and gums, making it challenging to clean effectively. By releasing these restrictions, it becomes easier to maintain proper oral hygiene, reducing the risk of dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Tongue and lip tie releases can aid in orthodontic treatment. Ties can cause dental misalignments or make it difficult for braces or aligners to work effectively. Releasing the ties allows teeth to move into their correct positions more easily, leading to more successful orthodontic outcomes.
Tongue and lip tie releases can alleviate temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. Ties can lead to improper jaw alignment and muscle tension, contributing to TMJ disorders and associated discomfort. Releasing the ties can help restore proper jaw function, reducing TMJ pain and improving overall jaw mobility.
TOTS can hinder the baby's ability to latch properly and extract milk efficiently, leading to feeding difficulties and discomfort for both the baby and the mother. Releasing the ties can allow for a better latch and more effective breastfeeding, promoting better nutrition and bonding between the infant and the mother.
1. The first step of frenectomy treatment involves administering a topical anesthetic gel to numb the area. This ensures that the patient experiences minimal discomfort during the procedure.
2. After the area is numb, the laser is used to precisely remove the frenulum tissue. The laser helps to minimize bleeding and promotes faster healing compared to traditional surgical methods.
3. After the procedure, the patient will be instructed on post-operative care, including wound care.
In certain situations, patients may need myofunctional therapy before and/or after to adapt to the newly acquired range of motion in the tongue and improve speech. This therapy helps strengthen the tongue and surrounding muscles, ensuring optimal function and recovery after the frenectomy procedure.