Tongue tie correction is often recommended to help breastfeeding infants, but it has many other potential benefits. Correcting tongue tie can reduce the risk that a child may need braces. It can even reduce the risk that they may develop TMJ as an adult. Getting tongue tie corrected as an infant can have lifelong health benefits, and many people may benefit from tongue tie correction as children or even as adults.

If you are interested in a tongue tie procedure in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment at Smile Columbia Dentistry today.

A young woman holding a baby

Tongue Tie and Mouth Development

The development of our teeth and jaws are caused by a complex configuration of interrelated factors. Genetics will stimulate the growth of the jaw and the teeth, but how the jaw actually forms is controlled by interaction with the various elements in your mouth. In particular, the tongue encourages the jaw to grow outward and develop a full arch, while the cheeks push inward to limit the development of the arch.

In children with tongue tie, the tongue can’t effectively push outward to encourage development of the jaw. Studies have shown that children with untreated tongue tie have narrower dental arches. The development of the jaw can also be impeded by mouth breathing, which may be more common in children with tongue tie.

Mouth Development and TMJ

TMJ, temporomandibular joint disorder, can have many potential causes. One of these is malocclusion, when the teeth don’t fit together properly. Children with tongue tie are more likely to have malocclusion, and they grow into adults with malocclusion. The way the teeth fit together influences the position of the jaw, and, therefore, the resting position of the temporomandibular joints. When the temporomandibular joints are compressed or dislocated, it can contribute to jaw dysfunction that can lead to TMJ symptoms.

Poor jaw position can also affect the jaw muscles, causing them to be tense or sore. Jaw muscles can also compress nerves, causing more TMJ symptoms.

Can Tongue Tie Correction as a Child Make a Difference?

Yes. The jaw continues to grow and change throughout childhood. Freeing the tongue from its bonds can influence this growth and alter the shape of the jaw..

Studies have shown that children getting tongue tie corrected as late as age 7 can lead to dramatic changes in the shape of the jaw. It’s possible that the child won’t need braces.

Can Tongue Tie Correction as an Adult Make a Difference?

This is more controversial and there is less scientific evidence to support removing tongue tie as an adult. However, there are many anecdotal accounts of people that had their tongue attachment treated as an adult and experienced many benefits, including relief from TMJ symptoms like headaches.

Other people report benefits like easier swallowing (and quieter swallowing, which spouses appreciate a lot), improved breathing, reduced tension in the neck, and even a reduction of neck hump along with less dramatic changes in posture. Some report improvement even with lower back problems.

Adults Don’t Realize the Impact of Tongue Tie

One common element in many adults who get tongue tie correction is that they didn’t realize they had it or the potential impact it could have until they see the dramatic results of treating tongue tie in their baby. Seeing the impact on their child’s ability to move their mouth and tongue (not just breastfeed), they understand how much their own movement has likely been restricted.

If you are having tongue tie corrected in your infant, you can consider whether you might benefit from correcting your own tongue tie.

If you are looking for a dentist to perform a tongue tie correction in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment at Smile Columbia Dentistry.