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 ‘Ankyloglossia’ – A condition that restricts the tongue’s range of motion

Tongue -tie is a popular term used to characterize a common condition that often goes undetected. It occurs during pregnancy when a small portion of tissue that should disappear during development before birth remains at the bottom of the tongue and restricts its movement. When a tongue cannot perform all the necessary movements – it jeopardizes the way we suck, swallow, chew, and talk. Ties or tethered oral tissues are not just restricted to your tongue, they can also restrict your upper lip and cheeks.

Tongue or lip ties present in many different shapes and forms and symptoms can also  vary from patient to patient.  Often health care providers who are not familiar  with ties will only look for the easy to see, classic tongue ties that often create a heart shaped tongue.  Just because you can poke your tongue out does not mean that there isn’t a tie. Some tongue ties can be deceptively hidden in the base (back) area under the tongue and cannot be easily seen – they need to be felt.

In normal function, the tongue rests in the roof of the mouth to help balance the pressure of our cheeks and lips. A restricted tongue “tongue-tie’ is unable to maintain this correct place, causing this balance to be off and often results in high arched palates, restricted nasal airways and descended tongue posture.  This is turn can lead to a multitude of health issues including the inability to successfully feed at the breast, mouth breathing, overcrowded upper and lower jaws, frequent upper respiratory tract infections, migraines / headaches, snoring,poor muscle development, incorrect muscle function, etc.

It is extremely important for the proper identification of ties that not only a visual and manual examination but functional investigation is carried out to determine the extent of the restricted movement.   It is only after we complete all 3 of these processes that we are able to determine if ties are present, how severe they are and if a release procedure needed.

If you would like more information regarding our Tethered Oral Tissue Clinic please contact us.