Tongue Ties in Children
Before beginning this, let me bust a most popular myth:
Tongue Ties stretch by itself as a child grows.
All those who have studied the microscopic and gross anatomy of Tongue Ties, knows this by heart, that, Tongue Ties CAN NEVER stretch and vanish by itself.
*As a baby grows, the initial symptoms may get masked and change its Form but never really disappear.
As an Airway Dentist and Myofunctional Therapist, we always strive towards helping our patients breathe and sleep better. Unfortunately, Tongue Ties drastically affect these two areas and they are among the first pillars of health to fall. Thus, begins the journey full of compensations and adjustments until the body gives up completely.
What is a Tongue Tie?
Tongue tie (Ankyloglossia) is when a tiny string of tissue (Lingual Frenulum) underneath the Tongue connecting the Floor of the mouth is attached way too tight or is short in length restricting the tongue movements.The restriction of tongue function due to Tongue Tie may affect Breastfeeding, sucking, swallowing, eating, speech, breathing, sleep, jaw growth, posture and even digestion.
What is a Lip Tie?
Lip Tie is when a similar band of tissue (Labial Frenulum) underneath the upper Lip is attached to the gums at a level way too high than normal. Presence of Lip Tie may result in potential Breastfeeding issues, gap between the tie, short upper lip, gummy smile, unable to close the lip without strain, speech issues and cavities in the front teeth.
Untreated Tongue Ties/Lip Ties
- A child with Tongue Tie may be at a risk of developing Sleep Disordered Breathing and sleeping with an open mouth. Tongue Ties doesn’t allow the tongue to be resting on the palate(roof of the mouth) at rest. Hence, it is very likely that when the child goes to deep sleep the muscles may relax and fall back blocking the airway while asleep. This forces them to open the mouth for breathing while sleeping.
- The moment this child starts breathing from the mouth, there is less oxygen delivery to their organs and cells making them prone to several dangerous side effects of poor sleep. Other symptoms may include like hyperactivity, grinding of teeth, restless sleep, bedwetting, sleeping in abnormal positions etc, may kick in slowly.
All of this doesn’t allow the child to enter into the restorative deep sleep, hence, preventing them to have a good quality sleep. This affects their growth and function overall.
A child who doesn’t sleep well, Doesn’t grow well!
Moreover, Tongue Ties significantly affect the facial growth of the children. Their face may grow unfavorably backward causing airway collapse and even crooked teeth.
Untreated effects of Tongue Tie present itself like a DOMINO effect. The moment one pillar of development falls, it takes all the others along with it slowly. The very first pillar to fall is BREASTFEEDING.
As the child grows, it is possible that its effects may be seen in several areas too. Let’s go through that –
How do we address Tongue Ties issues in children?
- Since Tongue Ties bring with it a plethora of Sleep, Airway and facial growth issues, it is very important that it is addressed from various dimensions. Based on a thorough history, clinical examination and severity of the condition, treatment is advised. Both anatomical and muscular issues are addressed simultaneously. Based on the severity, a Frenectomy may be advised.
- Frenectomy is a completely safe procedure with minimal to no bleeding observed. Pre-op and Post-op work is required inorder to achieve a proper outcome.
- For more details on Frenectomy procedure, Read “What to expect in a Frenectomy Procedure?”
- Treatment may comprise of a combination of a comprehensive Myofunctional Therapy to re-train the Muscle function and promote Jaw growth, Orthodontic correction for high arched palate, Frenectomy(if severe), Physical Therapy and Breathing Re-training
At Oraface, We are proud to have a collaborative team of like-minded professionals to help You and your family have Sleep, Breathe and Smile better! The First and Exclusive in Gujarat!
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