Tongue-tie is a condition that impacts the mobility of the tongue. If you reach under your tongue, you may notice a piece of skin that attaches the tongue to the bottom of your mouth. The skin allows for flexibility while ensuring your tongue has some attachment. In those with tongue-tie, this piece of skin may be attached to the front part of the tongue, too thick, or otherwise obstructing the free movement of the tongue. Those with tongue-tie can form speech impediments, but there are other, more serious consequences as well. In this article, we’ll take a look at tongue-tie and how your dentist can help you deal with it.
Symptoms of tongue-tie
Tongue-tie often goes unnoticed by those with the condition. Others experience serious symptoms that impair their ability to speak, eat, kiss, drink, and even breathe. Those with tongue-tie may have difficulty sticking their tongue out beyond their teeth, find it difficult to touch their upper teeth with their tongue, or move their tongue from side to side. Those who can stick their tongue out, often have heart-shaped tongues caused by the pressure pulling back the flap of skin attaching your tongue to the bottom of your mouth.
Risks related to tongue-tie
Tongue-tie can have a significant impact on your overall health. The saliva in your mouth is responsible for digesting many complex sugars and relies on the tongue for guidance on when to excrete. These complex sugars thus remain in the mouth for extended periods of time where they interact with plaque to create acid which attacks the enamel. Those with tongue-tie can’t easily get food that may be stuck in their mouth out, causing the rotting of food in the mouth. This results in periodontal (gum) disease, which can cause tooth decay and even heart problems.
Essentially, those with tongue-tie must develop alternative ways to do basic things. This includes swallowing. Normally, the tongue helps with swallowing by rising and pushing the food into the gullet and then the stomach. Those with tongue-tie cannot swallow like this. This can result in misalignment, TMJ, and pain.
Treatment of tongue-tie
Most folks will go through their entire childhoods and early adulthood without realizing they have a correctable disorder. In fact, tongue-tie is quite treatable, even in adults who have lived with the condition for decades.
Tongue exercises to improve mobility– Dentists will often recommend this choice to those who are looking to avoid surgery. Tongue exercises are shown to improve the tongue’s mobility, but will not be enough for some patients.
Surgery– There are a couple of different types of surgery that are used to correct tongue-tie. One involves cutting the skin to improve tongue mobility. The other involves improving the skin to allow the tongue to become more mobile.
Talk to a Flagstaff, AZ Dentist Today
The Flagstaff dentists at Peak Family Dental are more than happy to answer any questions you may have concerning an ongoing dental issue. Call today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.