Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA
Integrative Dental Arts offers complete oral health care for children, including diagnosing and treating tongue-ties.
A tongue-tie is when the thin piece of connective tissue that tethers the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too short, which restricts the tongue’s movement. This condition may not sound like an issue but left untreated, can cause many oral health concerns that linger into adulthood.
In babies, a tongue-tie can cause a variety of problems including:
- Difficulty breastfeeding (inability to latch properly)
- Trouble sleeping (sleep deprivation)
- Poor bond between mother and baby
- Failure to thrive
Ignoring a tongue-tie is not recommended, as it interferes with a child’s development. A child with an untreated tongue-tie may experience difficulty eating, lead to poor oral health, and interfere with speech development. It can also lead to poor oral posture, which can cause a host of oral development issues such as a misaligned bite, open bite, or even sleep apnea.
In diagnosing tongue-ties, there are four major classifications, which relate to the tongue’s positioning instead of the severity of the tongue’s restriction.
- Class 1– Tongue is heart shaped, with frenum attached to the tip of the tongue
- Class 2– Frenum is attached just behind the tip of the tongue
- Class 3– Commonly referred to as a posterior tongue-tie in which the membrane is very thin
- Class 4– Also a posterior tie, but without the thin membrane, making this the most under-diagnosed tongue-tie
A tongue-tie can sometimes be difficult to spot as a parent, which is why routine dental checkups are essential for every child. If you do notice that your baby seems to have trouble latching properly when nursing, eating age-appropriate solid food or developing proper speech patterns, the tongue-tie should be treated.
At Integrative Dental Arts, we offer treatment for tongue-ties, known as a frenectomy. This procedure is relatively painless for babies, as it involves using a laser to remove the tissue restricting the tongue. Laser therapy helps to minimize pain and bleeding, which means a quicker recovery for your child.
For babies, a series of stretching exercises or gentle massages may be needed to help encourage healing and strengthen the oral muscles accordingly. For older children or adults, a series of myofunctional therapy may be needed to help retrain the oral muscles for proper function and posture. Myofunctional therapy should only be prescribed by a certified myofunctional therapist.
For more information regarding tongue-ties or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Kathleen Carson at Integrative Dental Arts by calling (818) 889-0400. We welcome patients of Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.