What is a Tongue-Tie?
Tongue-tie is not just a term used when someone twists up their words. It is a medical condition that can have dramatic effects on oral development. When the tongue is physically attached to the floor of the mouth it can also have a severe impact on speech.
Underneath the tongue there is a piece of tissue called a frenum. The frenum attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth but in some cases the attachment is very tight or restricted, which is called a tongue-tie. This is where the problems start to occur.
Not all tongue-ties will look the same. A “heart shaped” tongue is the most recognizable tongue-tie although the tongue could have many other distinguishing features.
How Can I help?
During an evaluation, each patient is evaluated for a tongue-tie to determine the need for a surgical procedure called a frenectomy. This is a simple surgery performed in order to release the tongue.
If the surgery is needed, it is crucial to perform a series of exercises both before and after the procedure. Four to six weeks prior to the surgery patients are given specific exercises.
The day after the surgery is the most important day. At this point, I check that everything is healing correctly, and introduce additional exercises to strengthen and develop the tongue’s new mobility.
The muscles of the new found tongue have not been used before. It is important to activate these muscles through therapy so that the tongue does not heal back into it’s original position.