Tongue tie is a condition in which the range of motion of the tongue is limited due to a malformation. This malformation lies with the small band of tissue under the tongue that connects the tip of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This tissue, also known as the lingual frenulum, is either too tight or too short for the tongue to move properly.
Tongue tie is usually diagnosed in the first few months of life because it can affect eating and breastfeeding in children. Children may have difficulty speaking or sticking their tongues out.
This condition is usually present at birth and is caught and treated quickly. But it is possible for it to go unnoticed until adulthood. There is a possibility that tongue tie may not cause any issues; however, if there are, it may require a surgical solution.
Can Adults Have Tongue Ties?
Yes, absolutely. Adults can still present with tongue tie since it is generally not a condition that one can grow out of. Some doctors may suggest that the frenulum can stretch over time. However, the lack of collagen cells may prove otherwise according to some research. If you have tongue tie as an adult, you possibly have either adapted to its effects. You might also be unaware that tongue tie is causing your problems.
What Are Some Signs of Tongue Tie?
You may be able to physically see the effects of tongue tie if you stick your tongue out. If the end of your tongue is in the shape of a “V” or a heart, your frenulum may be too short.
Tongue tie will limit your ability to stick your tongue out past your lower front teeth. It can hinder the way you move your tongue around your mouth. If you are unable to easily move your tongue from side to side or touch the tip of your tongue to all of your teeth, it is possible that you may have a tongue tie.
With a limited range of motion, you may notice hindered speaking abilities. Any sound that you need the tip of your tongue to touch your teeth or the roof of your mouth (“d,” “t,” “n,” “s,” etc.) will be difficult for you. If you have a lisp or another speech problem, you may consider your tongue to be the cause.
You may find activities, such as eating, drinking, and kissing, difficult with tongue tie. You may not know the things that require a full range of motion from your tongue. Examples include licking an ice cream cone, catching a snowflake on your tongue, or playing a wind or reed instrument. The issue impacts pretty much any activity that involves your tongue.
How Do You Fix Tongue Tie?
A dentist can fix tongue tie with a simple procedure called a frenectomy. A frenectomy is where a dentist or surgeon will clip a portion of the frenectomy to release it from tension. Many dentists will use a local anesthetic and a laser to perform the procedure quickly and painlessly.