Reviewed by Dr. Jason Fluckiger, DMD

Restricted oral movement due to lip or tongue ties can significantly affect an individual’s speech and eating patterns. This condition, often overlooked, can have far-reaching implications if not addressed timely.

In the first blog of this series, we discussed what tongue and lip ties are and the various treatment options available. In this blog, we will explore how these conditions impact a person’s daily life and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention.

Quick Recap

Tongue tie occurs when the lingual frenulum, the band of tissue connecting the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, is too short or tight, restricting the tongue’s movement. Similarly, lip tie involves the labial frenulum—the band of tissue that connects the upper lip to the gums—being too tight and thereby limiting lip flexibility.

Table of Contents

Speech Impediments

People with a tongue or lip tie may struggle to pronounce certain sounds such as “T,” “D,” “N,” and “l,” which require the tongue and lip to interact with the teeth and roof of the mouth. 

Speech can become unclear or slurred, leading to difficulties in communication and social interactions.

  1. Clarity and articulation:  Tongue and lip ties can disrupt normal speech patterns, causing difficulty with sounds that require specific tongue or lip placement. This can lead to frustration and confidence issues in individuals, especially children.
  2. Vocabulary limitations: Children with tongue or lip tie may have limited vocabulary due to difficulties with pronouncing certain sounds. This can affect their language development and academic performance.
  3. Self-esteem: Speech difficulties caused by tongue or lip ties can lead to self-esteem problems in both children and adults.

Eating Difficulties

Tongue and lip ties affect both speech and eating habits.

  1. Chewing:  Children need proper chewing mechanisms to break down food into manageable pieces. Tongue and lip ties can limit the movement of the tongue, making it difficult for children to chew and swallow their food.
  1. Sucking: Infants with tongue or lip tie may struggle with breastfeeding or bottle feeding because they can’t latch on correctly. This can lead to inadequate milk intake and poor weight gain.
  2. Digestion: Proper chewing is essential for good digestion, and difficulties with this process can lead to digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and constipation.
  3. Swallowing: Coordination difficulties may result in improper swallowing techniques, influencing digestion and satisfaction from meals.

The Importance of Early Intervention

Early diagnosis and treatment of tongue and lip ties are crucial to address immediate issues and prevent long-term complications.

  1. Feeding: For infants, early correction can greatly improve breastfeeding success and reduce maternal discomfort.
  2. Dental health: Long-term, these conditions can lead to poor oral hygiene practices due to restricted access for cleaning, increasing the risk of dental decay and gingivitis.

Untreated tongue and lip ties have significant effects on oral functionality, self-esteem, and quality of life. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial for improved oral movements and overall wellbeing.

Frenectomy: An Effective Solution for Tongue and Lip Ties

The treatment of choice for managing tongue and lip ties is a simple procedure known as a frenectomy. This quick procedure releases the tight frenulum, allowing for a full range of motion of the tongue or lip. The benefits of a frenectomy far exceed the mild discomfort and short recovery time associated with the treatment.

Quick and Easy Procedure

A frenectomy is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that takes only a few minutes to complete. It offers quick relief from the discomforts of tongue, lip and cheek ties.

Minimal Discomfort

Frenectomies are performed with local anesthesia and precise techniques to minimize pain. IV sedation is available for especially anxious patients. Post-operative discomfort is generally mild and can be easily managed with prescribed medication or over-the-counter painkillers.

Vastly Improved Outcomes

Avoiding treatment can lead to persistent challenges in speech, eating, oral hygiene, and can affect psychological well-being. 

The temporary discomfort of a frenectomy is small compared to the ongoing complications that untreated ties can produce.

AZ Max – Your Oral Surgeon in Mesa, AZ

Don’t let a simple condition like a tongue or lip tie impact your quality of life.  If you or your child are experiencing speech and eating difficulties, contact AZ Max, your trusted oral surgeon in Mesa, AZ. Our team of experienced professionals can provide an accurate diagnosis and offer effective solutions to improve oral movements and prevent long-term complications.

We are dedicated to helping you achieve optimal oral health and function. To book an appointment at one of our 5 locations, call (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form. 

If you are searching for an ‘oral surgeon near me’ or an ‘oral surgeon in Mesa,’ choose AZ Max for expert care and compassionate service.

Stay tuned for our next blog in the series: Healing and Rehabilitation Post-Frenectomy: Exercises and Tips.