A tongue-tie or a lip tie can lead to developmental concerns in infants and be the underlying cause of other health concerns in growing children and adult patients. Dr. Ratti Handa has received advanced training in the release of a tongue or lip tie with Dr. Zaghi of the Breathe Institute. She can provide experienced care and an advanced treatment option that will improve both oral and overall health and wellness.
What is a tongue tie?
A tongue-tie, known clinically as ankyloglossia, occurs when a thin strip of soft tissue beneath the tongue called the lingual frenulum does not separate before birth. This causes the tongue to remain connected to the bottom of the mouth, restricting its movement and impacting the ability to eat and eventually speak normally. Similarly, the upper or lower lip frenulum can remain in place and create a lip tie that also limits the range of motion.
Dr. Handa works with patients of any age with a tongue or lip tie to release the tie and provide myofunctional therapy to restore normal movement of the tongue, facial and jaw muscles. A tongue or lip tie can affect many aspects of your health and development including breathing, speech, and the coordination of facial muscle movement.
Common Signs of a Tongue-tie
There are specific signs and symptoms of a tongue tie that if recognized should be addressed and evaluated. In infants these can include:
- difficulty latching on to the breast and leaking milk around the mouth during nursing
- failure to thrive, weight gain concerns
- audible “clicking” noises while nursing or feeding
- taking longer to feed and need to feed more frequently in infants
- choking or gagging during feedings
- gassiness or colic in infants due to discomfort from ingesting too much air
For older children or adults, the signs of an untreated tongue or lip tie can include:
- speech difficulties and development concerns
- mouth breathing and related concerns including sleep problems
- difficulty eating firmer foods due to more limited ability to chew properly
- early or increased incidence of tooth decay or gum disease due to the limited ability of the tongue to remove food and plaque from the back of the teeth
Tongue Tie Release & Myofunctional Therapy
Dr. Handa offers leading treatment options for releasing a tongue tie or lip tie along with appropriate therapies to promote healing and improve function. She trained with a leading specialist for the release of a tongue-tie, Dr. Soroush Zaghi.
A member of the team at the Breathe Institute, Dr. Zaghi has been a pioneer in the treatment of sleep and breathing disorders, especially in young children. His interest in the effects of tethered tissues led to the development of a unique surgical tongue-tie release treatment now offered by Dr. Handa in Acton, MA.
Dr. Handa provides a comprehensive approach to addressing both the release of a tongue or lip tie and related myofunctional disorders. She offers personalized myofunctional therapies that can restore proper tongue position and function, improved airway function, and orofacial muscle function. When disrupted by the existence of a tethered tissue, these muscles need retraining to ensure the best possible result after the release of the tongue or lip tie.
Without myofunctional therapy, many patients can continue to suffer from breathing and sleep problems, speech difficulties, and other health concerns related to improper orofacial muscle movement.
Dr. Handa recently hosted Dr. Zaghi and Dr. Sanjiv Chopra who discussed the functional approach to sleep and breathing disorders for over 40 guests.
Tongue Tie FAQs
What happens if a lip tie is not corrected?
Lip ties do not need to be treated but they typically are. Some dentists believe that if you leave a lip tie untreated it increases the risk of tooth decay in children.
Can tongue-tie affect breathing?
Tongue ties are known to cause patients to breathe predominantly through their mouth. This affects patients’ sleep because mouth breathing prevents the brain from reaching deep sleep.
Can tongue-tie cause problems later in life?
If tongue tie is left untreated it can cause issues for patients later in life, but with growth some patients tongue tie resolves itself. People with untreated tongue tie may experience difficulty speaking, or eating.