The main reason why tongue tie surgery is recommended is that it can help your baby breastfeed successfully, but it’s likely that there are many other benefits. Tongue tie has been accused of resulting in delayed speech and speech difficulties as well as TMJ. The latter may be related to the documented impact that tongue tie can have on the development of your jaw system.

How Tongue Tie Affects the Development of the Mouth

Our jaws develop partly in response to the genetic program in our DNA but also partly because of influence from our environment. An important part of the “environment” when it comes to your jaw development is your tongue. Your tongue and your teeth develop together. As your tongue grows, it pushes outward and upward to encourage the development of your oral cavity.

The outward push from your tongue is necessary because your jaw is also under pressure from your cheeks, lips, and jaw muscles. These muscles tend to push inward, preventing the growth of your jaw. It’s a shoving match, and ideal jaw development occurs when the forces are in balance.

In people with tongue tie, the tongue is unable to push outward with the same level for force. Instead, the force from the cheeks and jaw muscles wins the shoving match, restricting the growth of your jaw.

As a result, the jaws of kids with tongue tie are narrower and tend to be at higher risk for a poor bite (malocclusion).

Does Correcting Tongue Tie at Older Ages Matter?

You might think that if you didn’t correct your child’s tongue tie as a baby, then it doesn’t matter. But this isn’t true. In some cases, children getting their tongue tie corrected as late as age 7 has had a significant impact on the shape of the jaw, and can mean that a child may not need braces.

Tongue tie surgery can also help overcome speech difficulties, making it easier for children to join in with their peer groups.

Whether you have a new baby or an older child, we can help you understand the condition of tongue tie and the possible benefits of correction. We can even talk to you about your tongue tie and whether you will see benefits as an adult. Please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC cosmetic dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.