Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA
Can you identify your lingual frenum? This is a small piece of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. We all are born with this frenum, but sometimes, a person has a frenum that is too short and limits the tongue’s range of motion. This shorter frenum is known as a tongue-tie. If you have one, you’re born with it, and it can impact you negatively in several ways: how you eat, talk, and it even affects the growth of your face and jaws. At Integrative Dental Arts, we want you to be informed about the consequences a tongue-tie can have in the different stages of your life, and how we can help.
For a newborn or infant with a tongue-tie, a mother may first notice problems breastfeeding her baby. A restricted lingual frenum can cause the baby to experience difficulty latching, needing to feed too frequently, or failure to thrive. Other consequences include nipple damage for the mother, as well as diminishing the milk supply. These difficulties could end up causing the mother to stop breastfeeding against her wishes, impacting the special bond that develops while nursing her baby.
If a tongue-tie is not identified and treated during infancy, the potential problems only become worse. For a child with a tongue-tie, difficulties chewing and swallowing are the most reported problems. Your child may experience difficulties with speech development or abnormal jaw growth that results in an unfavorable facial appearance and crooked teeth. The issues with speech may hinder your child’s self-confidence, and maintaining good dental hygiene could become a challenge. It’s also likely that if a tongue-tie is allowed to remain past infancy, your child will begin to develop unconscious habits to adapt to the limited range of motion in the tongue. These habits, such as mouth breathing, lip impotence, tongue thrust, and snoring will harm your child’s oral health and overall wellness.
By the time someone with a tongue-tie reaches adulthood, those negative oral habits that developed during childhood have been present for more than a decade. These habits, combined with the continued lack of motion of the tongue, can lead to speech impediments, a nutritional deficiency, odd eating habits, sleep apnea, or a recessed chin and a pronounced overbite. The speech difficulties can cause major self-esteem issues, negatively affecting both personal and professional life. An adult with a tongue-tie may experience jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds as the jaws open and close, and frequent headaches—all symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder.
Treating tongue-ties in Agoura Hills
If you or your child is living with a tongue-tie, simply ignoring it is the worst thing that you can do. Failing to seek treatment means dealing with the consequences listed above. The best course of action is to have a tongue-tie identified as early in life as possible, and then have it released. At Integrative Dental Arts, we can perform a simple evaluation to detect the presence of a tongue-tie, even in newborn infants. From there, we can release the tongue-tie by using a precise dental laser, restoring the tongue’s full range of motion. The entire process takes mere minutes.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, call the office of Integrative Dental Arts at (818) 889-0400 if you live in the areas of Agoura Hills and Westlake Village in southern California.