Issues Related to
tongue & Lip ties

What is Ankyloglossia?

Ankyloglossia, commonly known as tongue tie, involves a shorter or thicker lingual frenulum connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This condition can impact various oral functions. Everyone has a frenum. But only when it restricts function, is it called restricted or tied. Not every case of tongue tie necessitates correction; it depends on the functional impact. For comprehensive assessment and treatment options, we recommend consulting with specialists who may adopt a multidisciplinary approach. This could include our team and/or other professionals.

Infants: Unsuccessful Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding

Successful breastfeeding requires a baby to effectively latch onto the breast. In some cases, infants with lip and/or tongue ties may face challenges in achieving this, potentially leading to latch difficulties and other nursing concerns. It's important to recognize various symptoms during nursing that might indicate a tongue tie

  • Difficulty latching or staying on latch
  • Excessive gas or burps
  • Gagging and choking
  • Milk dribbles
  • Reflux/colic
  • Excessive spitting up
  • An arched back due to discomfort
  • Falling asleep at the breast in the beginning or middle of feeding
  • Long feeding times or continual feeding (cluster feeding)
  • Lip calluses or blisters
  • Swallowing air
  • Chomping on the nipple
  • Comes off latch
  • Can only feed during letdown
  • Tucking of the upper lip
  • Fussing/fighting at the breast
  • Acts tense while nursing
  • Sensitive gag reflex
  • “Lazy Eater”
  • Difficulty holding a pacifier

Nursing Mothers: Difficult, Painful Breastfeeding

Tongue ties can impact not only babies but also breastfeeding mothers, potentially leading to physical challenges during nursing. It's important to be aware of how tethered oral tissue in infants might contribute to these difficulties:

  • Painful Latch
  • Shallow Latch
  • Distorted nipples- flattened, creased, lipstick shaped sore, damaged, and/or bleeding nipples
  • Plugged ducts
  • Mastitis
  • Feelings of failure
  • Loss of milk supply (especially after 3 months)
  • Nipple throbbing (vasospasms)

The 30 second tongue tie release procedure allows the tongue to lift to the palate providing the latch and suction that is needed to draw the milk from mom. We commonly find that a lip tie is present as well. This is equally important to release because if a baby cannot flare their upper lip they will not be able to latch onto the breast, making breastfeeding difficult, or even impossible. In most cases, once the ties are released, the baby is able to nurse within minutes of the procedure.

We do everything we can to make tongue tie release procedures quick and comfortable for babies. The goal is to improve tongue mobility, potentially aiding in better latch and suction for breastfeeding. Additionally, addressing a concurrent lip tie may further facilitate effective nursing. Once the ties are released, our goal is for the baby to be able to nurse within minutes of the procedure.

Babies: Trouble Eating Solid Food

Some oral issues related to tethered oral tissue persist after infancy. If symptoms suggestive of a tongue tie are observed in a child, even if previously unconfirmed, further evaluation might be necessary to explore the possibility of a less obvious posterior or  'hidden' tongue tie. Symptoms may include:

  • Eating slowly (often the last one to finish a meal)
  • Very picky about food, especially textures
  • Choking when transitioning to solid foods
  • Gagging or spitting food out
  • Pocketing food in their cheeks
  • Slow eaters, may avoid chewy foods like steak
  • Fast eaters that swallow without much chewing
  • Refusing to wean
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Easily distracted during mealtimes
  • Grazing on food throughout the day

Children: Difficulties with Speech

Tongue ties, if not addressed, may have implications for a child's oral development. While many children adapt without speech difficulties, some might experience challenges. If you recognize any of these signs in your child, you may want to consult a specialist for evaluation.

  • Trouble articulating sounds (- l, r, t, d, n, th, sh, and z)
  • V-shaped notch at the tip of the tongue
  • Inability to stick out the tongue past the upper gums
  • Inability to touch the roof of the mouth when fully open
  • Difficulty moving the tongue from side to side

A practical, though not definitive, approach for parents is to observe if a child can easily lick an ice cream cone or lollipop. Challenges in doing so might indicate a need for professional evaluation.

Adolescents & Adults: Breathing Issues

Tongue ties can potentially influence oral and facial development, which may affect airway function. It's important to be aware of symptoms in adolescents or adults and consider seeking expert advice if you notice any:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Heavy snoring
  • Disproportionate grown of lower jaw
  • Deficits in midface development forward to backward and side to side
  • Altered palate development
  • Restricted movement of the tongue

The treatment for tongue tie aims to enhance tongue mobility, potentially assisting in better resting positions and contributing to improved sleep quality by addressing airway obstruction issues.

Problems with Posture, Neck & Back Pain

In some cases, tongue ties may negatively impact jaw joint health and function. This can affect head posture, which in turn may impact muscles like the SCM (sternocleidomastoid muscle) and trapezius, potentially leading to various symptoms such as:

  • Head-forward posture
  • Neck and back pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Shoulder pain

If symptoms like the ones listed above are related to a tongue tie, tongue tie release treatment may help in aligning the head and spine. Various myofunctional and physical therapy exercises may also be beneficial in adjusting posture and addressing discomfort.

Emotional Issues Linked to Tongue and Lip Ties

MOTHERS: In some cases, there can be emotional consequences related to tongue ties, particularly in the context of postpartum experiences. Feelings of guilt or stress in new mothers facing breastfeeding challenges that may be related to a tongue tie should be addressed with understanding and support.

CHILDREN:  Speech and eating difficulties may affect confidence, and ongoing discomfort in older individuals could have an emotional impact. Our team is dedicated to providing education, support, and potential relief for these challenges.

Notice These Signs & Symptoms?

If you are experiencing issues related to tongue ties, our team is ready to assist with diagnosis and treatment. For further details or to consult with a specialist, please contact us at (720) 507-0077 or visit our office at 4704 Harlan Street, #350, Denver, CO 80212.

Call today at (720) 507-0077