Children Tongue Ties

child tongue tieYou want the best for your child: physically, mentally and emotionally. Living with an undiagnosed tongue tie, however, can cause a wide array of problems in children. Left untreated, these issues continue to magnify and spread later in life, having potential major effects into adulthood. (Link) Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry wants to educate our patients on the warning signs of a tongue tie in children, the potential effects this can have on their well-being and how we can help.

What is a tongue tie?

Clinically known as ankyloglossia, a tongue tie occurs when the lingual frenum – the band of tissue connecting the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth – is too short. A tongue tie restricts the range of motion of the tongue and, as a result, impedes function.

Consequences and symptoms of a tongue tie

A tongue tie affects a child in four main areas.


The natural motion of swallowing sees the entire tongue lift up against the roof of the mouth. Having a tongue tie prevents the tongue from lifting as it should.

What to watch for: Difficulty swallowing is the major warning sign. Also watch for your child choking or coughing when attempting to eat foods of a certain texture. Other warning signs include a hyperactive gag reflex, excessive drooling or making a slurping sound when eating.


The ideal oral posture at rest involves the tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth. For someone with a tongue tie, the tongue stays low in the mouth. This can make a child with a tongue tie much more likely to mouth breathing and also lead to obstructions of the airway at night, possibly manifesting a case of sleep apnea.

What to watch for: Mouth breathing whether awake or asleep is the major warning sign of breathing issues that are caused by a tongue tie. Your child also may snore audibly and regularly while asleep. Other potential issues include a decrease in airflow or diminished oxygen levels during sleep. Mouth breathing even can impact facial development, creating a narrow upper jaw or a higher than normal roof of the mouth.


Proper movement and full range of motion in the tongue are both crucial in the ability to speak with clarity and distinction.

What to watch for: Children with a tongue tie may have difficulty enunciating certain letters, especially R, L and S. Other signs of a tongue tie impacting speech include delayed development of speech, being diagnosed with an articulation disorder, speaking softly, mumbling frequently, having a hoarse voice when speaking for no explainable reason or having a nasal speaking tone.

Oral health issues

Unconsciously, the tongue sweeps the teeth and gums to clear away food particles during meals and after you eat. Limited mobility in the tongue makes this more difficult. This means food particles can be left to linger in the mouth, where they become fuel for the bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay as well as the bacterial infection that leads to gum disease.

Poor resting posture of the tongue also can negatively impact the development of the face and jaws. This could mean that there is not enough room for all the teeth to emerge properly in the mouth, potentially leading to malocclusion (otherwise known as a misaligned bite) or TMJ disorder. Living with a tongue tie while undergoing orthodontic treatment may even cause orthodontic relapse.

Treatment of tongue ties

A tongue tie is present in the mouth from birth. That makes early detection and treatment possible. However, many people go beyond infancy and even into adulthood with an undiagnosed tongue tie. At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, Dr. Ariana can conduct an examination in a matter of minutes to detect a tongue tie. If a tongue tie is identified, we can release it by performing a functional frenuloplasty with our LightScalpel laser. This completes the procedure quickly, with minimal bleeding, discomfort or risk of an infection following the release of the tongue tie.

functional frenuloplasty aftercare

Patients who live with a tongue tie past infancy often develop negative habits to compensate for the reduced range of motion in the tongue. These issues may include tongue thrust, difficulty swallowing or problems with speech, just to name a few. We always prescribe a course of myofunctional therapy prior to and following a functional frenuloplasty, to help correct these habits.

Treating tongue ties in children in the Central Coast of California

If your family lives in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley or the surrounding areas of California, turn to Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry for the diagnosis and treatment of tongue ties. Schedule a consultation today by calling (831) 438-4411.