Tongue Tie Myth Busters

tongue tie myth bustersAnkyloglossia is more than just a tongue twister (pardon the pun …) but it is also the clinical term for a tongue tie. This condition occurs when the lingual frenum, a thin strip of tissue, is too short. This limits the range of motion in the tongue, impacting a person’s ability to eat, speak and breathe, among other potential consequences in different stages of life. If someone has a tongue tie, prompt detection and treatment are important for both your oral and overall health. Unfortunately there are many misconceptions about tongue ties. At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, we believe in the power of patient education; so we are here to explore and debunk these myths.

Myth 1: It takes time for a tongue tie to develop.

A tongue tie exists from birth. This condition is also more common than you might realize, estimated to affect as many as 4% of all infants. A trained pediatrician or dentist can conduct an exam to detect a tongue tie just a few days after your baby is born. Typically, a tongue tie is removed by performing a frenectomy, which releases the tie and restores full range of motion.

Myth 2: A tongue tie can stretch out on its own.

A tongue tie can only be resolved through diagnosis and treatment from a trained medical professional. It will not just go away on its own, nor can a tongue tie stretch out to a greater length by itself. This is because your lingual frenum is a thick, strong band of tissue. In fact, the opposite may be true; a tongue tie can become thicker and more fibrous as time passes, further hindering the range of motion.

Myth 3: Babies with tongue ties have no difficulty swallowing.

The exact opposite is often the case. Infants with tongue ties often experience issues with nursing, which may include a failure to latch, difficulty sucking, failure to thrive or slower weight gain.

Myth 4: A tongue tie does not lead to snoring.

If the motion of the tongue is restricted, this can obstruct breathing, leading to the blockages of the airway that occur when someone suffers from obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, many adults who suffer from sleep apnea may do so because they have a tongue tie that has gone undiagnosed their entire life.

Myth 5: A frenectomy is painful.

Whether you have a tongue tie released with scissors or through the use of our precise LightScalpel CO2 dental laser, you will experience no discomfort, as we apply a local anesthetic. In most cases, we perform the procedure with our laser, which releases the tongue tie quickly with minimal bleeding or risk of infection. After the procedure, you may experience some soreness as your tongue adjusts to its full range of motion and movements it is not accustomed to performing. This is why, for patients beyond infancy, we always recommend a course of myofunctional therapy as both preparation and follow-up to a frenectomy.

Myth 6: Infections are common after a frenectomy.

On the other hand, this is quite rare. Many patients who receive a frenectomy believe they are suffering from an infection because they notice discoloration at the site of the procedure or detect bad-smelling breath. Both of these are common symptoms following a frenectomy. If you receive a laser frenectomy, the tissue subsequently may appear white, gray or yellow – especially for infants. The younger the baby, the more yellow the hue of the tissue. Bad breath is also common as part of the healing process, and because your mouth remains open more frequently after the procedure because the tongue becomes tied performing unaccustomed movements.

Tongue-tie diagnosis and treatment in Scotts Valley, Los Gatos and Santa Cruz in California

If you or someone you love has a tongue tie, has been diagnosed with a tongue tie or are experiencing some of the symptoms of a tongue tie, then schedule an evaluation at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry today. Just call (831) 438-4411 or contact us online.