Omega Dental Care Blog

Tongue-Tie and Why It Matters

The tongue plays important roles in proper breathing, which is necessary for survival and normal development physically, behaviorally, and socially. If the tongue is restricted (tongue-tie) and not able to function normally, the body compensates in ways that can cause a cascade of symptoms or dysfunctions. A few examples are noisy breathing and unusual sleeping positions, restless sleep with frequent awakenings, difficulty feeding in babies and messy eating in children, tongue thrust swallow, narrow palates, malocclusion (crooked teeth), enlarged adenoids, and difficulty with speech. If your child is a mouth breather, it's time to have this assessed.

The position of the tongue at rest is crucial for normal development of the midface, palate, and the dental arches. The tongue is a NATURAL PALATAL EXPANDER! the normal position of the tongue at rest is in the roof of the mouth. Our lips should seal together without effort and we should be able to breath through our nose without opening the mouth. We also should be able to eat with our mouths closed when chewing and swallowing, but a lot of children and adults and adults cannot do this. If the tongue is tethered to floor of the mouth as with tongue-tie, usually it cannot function properly. When the tongue lays in the bottom of the mouth at rest, it cannot act to expand and mold the upper arch. Proper swallowing cannot occur with tongue-ties. The body uses compensations, which expends more energy to complete the tasks of chewing, swallowing and breathing. Proper tongue position promotes good swallowing processes, nasal breathing, and good arch formation and occlusion.

The primary function of our oral frenums (attachments from one tissue to another) is to keep the tongue and lips in harmony with growth of bones in the mouth. One of the main causes of oral myofunctional dysfunctions (OMDs) is tongue-tie/lip-tie. A tongue-tie limits its mobility and varies in degree of severity. It is easy to recognize some clues or symptoms of tongue-tie. First check yourself in the mirror and then examine your children. You may be amazed at what you see!

where your tongue should be_ (1)

You may be tongue-tied if: 

- You can't reach tongue to upper teeth

- You can't move tongue side to side (outside mouth)

- You have trouble sticking tongue out past lower teeth

- You see a notched or heart shaped tongue when sticking tongue out

- Your tongue curls down when you stick it out


Early diagnosis and treatment are important. Intervene early! Mouth breathing can lead to sleep breathing disorders and obstructive sleep apnea. Of course, there are other compensation factors but why delay eliminating one factor that is relatively easy to correct? Carefully consider treatments. A frenectomy or frenuloplasty may take care of the tongue-tie immediately but you may see relapse if myofunctional therapy is ommitted in overall treatment.

We are pleased to offer a complimentary consultation for you or a loved one.


Dr. Ann Soberay on Google Scholar

Topics: Omega Dental, dental preventative products, functional orthodontics, myobrace, ALF, ALF orthodontics