Have you noticed something is off about your or your child’s speech? You may be dealing with a tongue-tie condition. In adults, you might notice certain speech challenges or difficulty with specific sounds. For parents of children with tongue-tie, challenges during breastfeeding and speech development might be early indicators.
Early detection and appropriate treatment are crucial for improving the quality of life for individuals affected by tongue-tie. Thankfully, Garden Oaks Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, led by Denton dentist Dr. Patrick Ruehle, provides a quick and easy solution to release tongue-tie in infants, children, and even adults.
Tongue-tie, medically known as ankyloglossia, is a congenital condition where the strip of skin beneath the tongue, known as the lingual frenulum, is shorter or tighter than normal. This restricts the range of motion of the tongue, potentially leading to a variety of issues. Between four to 11 percent of babies are born with this condition, where a band of tissue connects the tip of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, affecting normal function.
Common symptoms encompass difficulties with breastfeeding, speech articulation, and, in some cases, dental concerns. While present from birth, tongue-tie may not always be immediately apparent, emphasizing the importance of a professional diagnosis. Left untreated, tongue-tie can impact a child’s oral health, speech development, and nutritional intake.
There are three primary types of tongue-tie:
Depending on the severity, tongue-tie can be a serious obstacle in your child’s development that needs to be corrected. Without intervention, tongue-tie can cause:
New research is showing connections between tongue-tie and enlarged tonsils and adenoids, repetitive ear infections, dental issues (orthodontic problems), neck pain, and headaches. Tongue-tie can also make it challenging to remove food from your teeth, causing oral hygiene issues over time.
Identifying tongue-tie requires a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional. Signs and symptoms may include:
A medical assessment will involve a detailed examination to determine the severity and type of tongue-tie. We recommend that you book a visit at Garden Oaks Family & Cosmetic Dentistry if you or your child:
Correcting your case or your child’s case of tongue-tie is quick and pain-free. We start by applying a topical anesthetic to numb the area. Afterward, Dr. Ruehle will release the tissue attachment that holds your tongue to the floor of your mouth using the Waterlase® laser. The laser cauterizes the tissue as it cuts to avoid bleeding.
The Waterlase laser is an award-winning dental system that relies on laser energy and water. This method enables us to perform a wide range of dental treatments without the need for shots or drills, providing a more gentle experience and comfortable healing. There are no shots and no stitches. You or your child can go right back to play, school, or work immediately.
Addressing tongue-tie can bring about a multitude of positive changes in various aspects of life.
Immediately following the treatment, you can go about your day as you typically would. However, you’ll want to avoid eating anything acidic for 24 hours. If you had speech difficulties before the treatment, you may want to see a speech therapist afterward.
While your child will still learn speech and language, they may have difficulty with articulation or pronouncing certain sounds such as "t," "d," "z," "s," "th," "r" and "l." This can cause social issues and lead to teasing and feeling embarrassed. Speech therapy can help in cases like this.
If tongue-tie remains untreated, it can cause structural and functional changes impacting sleep throughout your life. Tongue ties and low tongue resting postures often lead to or exacerbate mouth breathing. It can also block your airway and impair your ability to swallow, causing a buildup of mucus.
No need to worry, it can easily be diagnosed by any qualified dentist, family doctor, lactation consultant, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor, surgeon, or speech-language pathologist. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you begin your new journey free of the harmful side effects and long-term damage.
Adults may see even more benefits after tongue-tie treatment than children because they’ve lived with the problem for much longer and are more cognizant of the effects. Adults who have undergone tongue-tie treatment have seen many benefits, including:
Speaking habits may be more difficult to overcome as you age, so seeing a speech therapist is strongly recommended for the best results.
Call our Denton office at (940) 566-4888 or fill out the contact form to learn more about tongue-tie treatments for your infant or child. We’ll perform your treatment with the latest and most advanced dental technologies right from our comfortable and clean dental office. Garden Oaks Family & Cosmetic Dentistry proudly serves new and returning patients in the Robinson Oaks and Corinth areas.