Tongue-Tie

A full range of tongue movement is a key component of eating, speaking, and breathing. While tongue-tie can be difficult to live with, there are relatively routine procedures to correct this condition. We provide corrective treatments for tongue-tie so our patients can achieve full tongue extension and have a better experience eating, speaking, and breathing.

What is Tongue-Tie?

In a healthy mouth, a band of tissue, called the lingual frenulum, anchors the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This band is typically thin and flexible, allowing the tongue to freely move about in order to facilitate speech, eating, and drinking.

Tongue-tie is an oral health condition that affects the lingual frenulum, reducing the tongue’s mobility to varying degrees. Individuals with this condition have a lingual frenulum that is too short, tight, or thick to allow the tongue to move as it should. In addition, a person with tongue-tie may have their frenulum connected closer to the tip of their tongue rather than near the back. This can also greatly inhibit the tongue’s ability to move.

Tongue-Tie in Children
Though the condition is present at birth, it may go unnoticed for much of an individual’s life, especially in more mild cases. Even when symptoms of tongue-tie are present in childhood, they may be incorrectly connected to a different disorder or overlooked completely. As such, some individuals with tongue-tie do not have the issue treated until they’ve reached adulthood.

A tight lingual frenulum can loosen as a child grows, which may result in mobility improvement that allows children to eat, drink, and speak well enough to be considered healthy and normal. Additionally, a lifelong condition like tongue-tie can be mistaken for other conditions when evaluated by medical professionals who are unfamiliar with identifying it.

Tongue-tie can be impactful during a child’s development, and if left untreated, can also affect an individual’s life well into adulthood.

Tongue-Tie in Adults
In some situations, adults with tongue-tie may have frequent cavities and tooth decay attributed to poor dental hygiene, but tongue-tie can play a key role in the underlying problem.

A tight, short frenulum may not allow a person to sweep their tongue over their teeth after eating, which can leave food particles on the surface of the teeth until the individual brushes.

Adults with tongue-tie may also have trouble speaking properly, which can be seen as a speech impediment caused by another condition, or written off as generally poor pronunciation. However, tongue-tie may be the cause of the issue due to the frenulum’s thickness or length restricting the tongue movement needed for adequate speech.

Symptoms & Treatments of Tongue-Tie

Tongue-tie can cause a variety of other issues that can be mistaken for other health conditions. Fortunately, there are treatment options for both children and adults with tongue-tie. At Dental Health by Herre, Dr. Tim Herre can evaluate tongue-tie severity in adult patients and recommend treatent based on the individual circumstances involved.

For example, some patients may benefit from speech therapy, while others might find that surgical correction is their best option. The procedure adults undergo is similar to the procedure used to correct tongue-tie in children.

Symptoms
  • Migraines
  • Lower jaw protrusion
  • Speech impediments
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Inability to open the mouth wide
  • Gum inflammation
  • Dental health issues
  • Emotional stress due to speech and appearance
  • Difficulty keeping dentures in place for seniors
Treatment
Frenuloplasty is a simple outpatient procedure that can allow tongue-tied adults to experience better tongue mobility. During a frenuloplasty, Dr. Herre will numb the frenulum area with anesthesia before releasing it with either a scalpel, medical scissors, or a laser. The incision is then closed via absorbable sutures, which dissolve over a period of several days following the procedure, meaning that the patient does not have to have sutures removed in our office.

Following the procedure, patients experience more tongue mobility, better breathing, and easier eating. Surgical tongue-tie correction is a straightforward operation that causes minimal discomfort and has practically no risk of complications.

We can help with Tongue-Tie

If you feel that you may have adult tongue-tie, we welcome you to call our office at Herre Holistic Dental KC and book an evaluation appointment. Our dental team will carefully examine the extent of your tongue-tie condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment. Call us at 913-491-4466 or schedule an appointment online.
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Amazing care!!! They were able to get me in when I couldn’t get in to see where my Family Dentist referred. That location referred me to Dental Health by Herre. Dr. Herre was extremely thorough and very concerned about my oral health. I would recommend this to anyone!!

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Tracy M.
Leawood, KS

Location

Herre Holistic Dental KC

11201 Nall Avenue
Suite 120
Leawood, KS 66211

Hours

Monday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Thursday: 7:00am - 3:00pm