Understanding The Effects Of Tongue Ties In Adulthood

A tongue tie or lip tie, also known as “ankyloglossia” is a serious childhood issue, which can interfere with feeding, speech, and even proper breathing. If this issue goes untreated, it can also cause a number of other problems in adulthood.

This issue will not correct itself with time, so it is important to see Dr. Jesse at Colorado Tongue Tie if you suspect that your child suffers from a tongue tie. If untreated, these are the issues that may occur in adulthood:

1. Poor Oral Health And Unhealthy Teeth

Ankyloglossia restricts the movement of the lips or tongue, which can make it impossible to swallow and move the tongue properly. In turn, this affects the flow of saliva in the mouth. Since saliva is critical for washing away plaque and oral bacteria, the likelihood of developing cavities and even gum disease is much higher in patients with ankyloglossia.

2. TMJ Dysfunction

The movement of the tongue in childhood has a big impact on the placement and development of the teeth and on the structure of the jaw.

If the tongue is tied down, it cannot move properly, and this usually leads to a smaller mouth, jaw, and palate. In turn, a narrowed or small jaw may move sub-optimally, which can result in pain in the temporomandibular joint that connects the mandible to the skull.

TMJ can lead to severe jaw and neck pain, difficulty moving the jaw, jaw “locking”, and a number of other unpleasant symptoms.

3. Sleep Apnea

Due to the tongue and/or lip impairment caused by ankyloglossia, the oral structures and airway tend to be smaller than normal. If the oral tissue begins to sag, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) may result.

This condition occurs when oral tissue blocks the airway entirely multiple times during the night, often for 10 seconds or more. OSA interferes with restful sleep, and can even contribute to the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

4. Speech Issues

This is one of the most noticeable issues related to adult tongue ties. When the tongue is tethered closely to the mouth and cannot move properly, it is very difficult to speak clearly. An adult with a tongue tie may have difficulties with plosive sounds like “s”, and may develop a lisp.

Early Treatment Is Critical To Avoid These Issues

While adults can get treatment for tongue ties to resolve some of these issues, the real damage is done during early childhood development. Improper formation of the jaw and teeth may be very difficult to treat in adulthood and require invasive surgery.

This means that it is critical to see Dr. Jesse as soon as you can if you believe that your child suffers from ankyloglossia. Dr. Jesse would be happy to examine your child and make sure that, if present, any issues with a tongue tie or lip tie are resolved quickly, and with a minimally-invasive, laser-based procedure. Contact us now at (720) 507-0077 for an appointment, or visit our office in person at 4704 Harlan St., Denver, Colorado 80212.

Healthy Tongues, Healthy Lives

At Colorado Tongue Tie, our goal is to support the well-being of families by addressing restricted oral tissues (ROTs). We cater to patients across all ages, from infants to adults, with an understanding of the diverse needs at each life stage. Our treatments, utilizing cool laser technology, are designed to be as efficient and comfortable as possible. We're dedicated to providing a caring environment, recognizing that each patient's journey towards better oral health is unique.