The medical term for a tongue tie is "Ankyloglossia". The simple definition of a tie is a tight string of tissue under the tongue that can prevent the tongue from functioning properly.
Everyone has a string or frenum under the tongue so that is why a tongue-tie is overlooked. However, the caveat of having a tongue-tie is that it restricts normal tongue movement or position during feeding, swallowing, speech, breathing, and sleep. Your myofunctional therapist can evaluate further to determine if there is a restriction and what function it has impacted.
Many of my adult patients during the consultation will tell me I've been doing just fine with my tongue-tie even with many other tongue-tied related symptoms impacting their quality of life. Such as the following:
An immobile sternum.
Tightness around the base of the skull
Tension in Front of the Neck
Tension in the bone and cartilage on the top of the throat is needed for correct swallowing
Tightness in the muscles under the jaw. This can manifest as a straight line between the point of the chin and the throat, under the jaw. This can pull the jaw downwards and backward, leading to TMJ issues.
Tightness in the floor of the mouth
Tightness in jaw muscles of the cheek
Speech and Breathing Issues
Sleep problems/ Sleep Apnea
Issues with a voice that can impact singing or attaining adult male voice for teens
Why do I need myofunctional therapy before & after tongue-tie release surgery?
Myofunctional therapy is needed before and after a tongue-tie release to adapt the muscle patterns to the new lingual movement, breathing, chewing, and swallowing. This will ensure proper healing and function of the tongue post-surgery.
Starting myofunctional therapy prior to the tongue-tie release surgery will prevent you from slipping back into the bad habits that the tongue tie caused. For example, it encourages nose breathing rather than mouth breathing. Appropriate chewing and swallowing patterns. Hence, you may experience some relief from tongue tie symptoms even before your surgery
Why Should I have Tongue-Tie Release Surgery?
During treatment, we get asked this question a lot. Surgery can be a scary and nerve-wracking procedure especially when it is in our mouth. At first, everyone thinks tongue-ties release surgery is on the tongue muscle when in fact it is on the extra fascia that is restricting the tongue muscle. So No, they are not cutting off your tongue.
If you had webbed fingers, would you want to have to get surgery?
Most would answer YES because it would impact hand movement and some would say they don't like the way it looks.
If you answered YES to the above, then If your tongue is fused or webbed to the floor of your mouth and it's impacting your breathing, eating, chewing, swallowing, and facial features, why would you not want surgery?
The biggest difference between web finger release and tongue tie release outside the obvious is that the tongue tie is relatively hidden and not easily assessed. No one sees the tongue or thinks of it as an independent organ. Surgery is to loosen the fascia that is causing the restriction.