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Why is myofunctional therapy required before and after the release of a tongue-tie?

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

The importance of myofunctional therapy in the rehabilitation of a tongue-tie release cannot be overstated. It's remarkable how many people seek myofunctional therapy after a release without understanding how important it is to prepare muscles before surgery. Before and after tongue-tie release surgery, myofunctional treatment is equally crucial. Improved recovery requires preparing the tongue, head, neck, and jaw muscles, as well as improving the posture and airway muscles that affect the tongue, head, neck, and jaw.

Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Alizah Shahar, MS, CCC-SLP/OMT, our Expert Level Therapist, to learn more.

Understanding the role of the tongue

A short mucosal lingual frenulum and/or fibrosed submucosal myofascial fibers of the underlying gen-ioglossus muscle might cause restricted tongue mobility. The tongue's unrestricted mobility is necessary for optimal

  • speech

  • chewing

  • swallowing

  • oral hygiene

  • breathing activities

  • development of the maxillofacial complex

  • upper airway

Because the tongue plays such a vital part in so many processes, reduced mobility of the tongue muscle can induce dysfunctional compensations that can severely influence nasal airflow and snoring due to low tongue posture or contribute to chronic stress on other head and neck muscles. The tongue is directly attached to the hyoid bone and has webs of connective tissue known as fascia that connect it to the rest of the body (via the fascial diaphragms all the way down to the feet). A restricted tongue can cause neck strain, pain, and postural instability by putting tension on the deep front line of fascia (among other connective tissue networks).

Myofunctional treatment prepares the tongue muscles, airway muscles, and posture for what's to come before the release. The preparation and the release will change your current tongue pattern, posture, and airway that will improve sleep, breathing, eating, chewing, and speech.

Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Alizah Shahar, MS, CCC-SLP/OMT, our Expert Level Therapist, to learn more.

It is critical to have treatment prior to tongue-tie release surgery.

Just because your tongue has a new range of motion after the release doesn't mean it'll start working at maximum capacity on its own without myofunctional therapy. Many dental surgeons and dentists who complete the release will present you with a worksheet of healing activities following surgery. While these exercises may be beneficial, they are general exercises with limited long-term results.Seeing a myofunctional therapist 24-48 hours following surgery to begin your muscular stretches will help to prevent the risk of scar tissue forming and making the limitation worse. The myofunctional therapist will prescribe personalized therapeutic activities that focus on the right stretches and range of motion. Your myofunctional therapist will be able to determine which of the tongue's eight muscles require strengthening and range of motion improvement. You must know which exercises help which muscles, just as you must know which exercises benefit which muscles when working out your body muscles.

Treatment after tongue-tie release surgery must be tailored to the individual.

After two weeks of therapeutic activities, it's vital that your tongue, airway and posture begin to function in the appropriate patterns. If you begin this therapy before surgery, your myofunctional therapist will focus on teaching you how to apply what you've learned to your new swallowing and/or speech patterns, as well as your airway and posture, to make the procedure go more easily. So keep in mind that your doctor's simple exercises on the worksheet aren't everything there is to it. TMJ tension, swallowing difficulties, and speech difficulties can be reduced with the right exercises that develop proper tongue, jaw, swallowing, and airway muscle patterns. It improves with time and yields long-term consequences.

The importance of accountability and consistency before and after surgery cannot be overstated. At TASL, we make sure that you are held accountable and that your path before and after a tongue-tie release is consistent. We work with your tongue-tie release surgeon to create a personalized treatment plan that includes a chronology of your trip. The most up-to-date technology is used to assess and track your development and determine future steps for better long-term results.

Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Alizah Shahar, MS, CCC-SLP/OMT, our Expert Level Therapist, to learn more.

*TASL offers their patients a number of options when it comes to selecting an oral surgeon to execute tongue-tie releases. Tongue-Tie Release Surgery was performed on the individuals in the images by Dr. Todd Scheyer of Perio Health in Houston, Texas.

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