Have you noticed that your child is struggling with speech, eating certain foods, or swallowing?
Maybe you’re concerned because they’ve said they can’t touch the roof of their mouth with their tongue, something that is easy for you.
If so, they might benefit from speech therapy for orofacial myofunctional disorders.
That’s a big word for a category of speech disorders – today we’ll be talking about one specific one, tongue tie.
This is a condition that can decrease the range of motion of your child’s tongue, creating a variety of daily difficulties.
If you think your child might have tongue tie, searching for a speech therapist near me can help you find qualified, local speech therapists in your area.
At Voz Speech Therapy we can help your child navigate any issues that might be caused by tongue tie through pediatric speech therapy.
For now, let’s take a closer look – what is tongue tie, what causes it, and how can a speech therapist help?
What Is Tongue Tie?
Tongue tie is a condition that restricts the tongue’s range of motion.
This condition is present from birth and means that a short or tight piece of tissue keeps the tip of the tongue tethered to the floor of your baby’s mouth.
This band of tissue is called the frenulum, and the scientific name for tongue tie is ankyloglossia.
When you open your mouth and raise your tongue, the small piece of tissue at the bottom that attaches to the floor of your mouth is the frenulum.
Usually it’s not in the way, but with conditions like tongue tie, you may encounter issues with range of movement because of the position or thickness of the frenulum.
Tongue Tie Symptoms
Tongue tie affects babies, so it’s a good idea watch out for the symptoms of tongue tie from birth to see if your baby is having symptoms.
There are a variety of symptoms of tongue tie in your baby, which include:
- Difficulty sticking out tongue beyond lower front teeth or gum line
- Tongue that appears to have a notch in the middle
- Tongue that looks like it has a heart shape when stuck out
- Difficulty lifting their tongue
- Trouble breastfeeding, including: latching, fussiness, long sessions, clicking sounds while breastfeeding, and nipple pain
- Pocketing food
- Milk tongue
- Trouble moving tongue from one side of mouth to the other
- Being underweight
- Chronic mouth breathing
Tongue tie can occasionally go unnoticed when your child is an infant.
If your child is already able to speak, they may complain about the following symptoms of tongue tie:
- Struggling to eat or swallow
- Difficulty eating certain foods like ice cream
- Trouble touching their back teeth and roof of their mouth with their tongue
- Difficulty producing certain sounds, particularly the /s, z, l, r, sh, ch/
Tongue Tie Causes
The lingual frenulum usually separates from the bottom of your baby’s mouth before they are born.
If your child has tongue tie, it means the lingual frenulum never separated completely.
There is no known cause of tongue tie, though there is some link to certain genetic factors.
Tongue tie can run in families and is more common in boys than girls.
Research is continuing as we try to learn more about tongue tie, so the amount of children it affects is unknown.
However, it is not an uncommon thing, and the good news is it’s easily treatable.
How Can Speech Therapy For Tongue Tie Help?
Speech therapists are uniquely suited for helping your child with tongue tie.
When you first meet with one of our speech therapists, they will ask questions about your child’s symptoms – whether they snore, are a picky eater, breathe through their mouth, drool, or have issues with articulation.
If we suspect tongue tie, we may refer you to an ENT or pediatric dentist to confirm the diagnosis.
Once your child is diagnosed with tongue tie, they may need surgical intervention.
Speech therapists can help your child navigate tongue tie before and after any surgery they may have to undertake, helping you every step of the way.
Before surgery, your child’s speech therapist will work with them to improve the range of motion of their tongue, which is called doing myofunctional tongue exercises.
This will help your child manage their symptoms as they navigate living with tongue tie.
We will help your child with the sounds they have the most trouble making, teaching them techniques to help their tongue move more freely, and eventually, rest on the roof of their mouth to be able to breathe through their nose.
Your speech therapist can also teach you and your child wound recovery exercises, so your minds will be at ease if they’re facing the prospect of surgery.
Wound recovery exercises are important to make sure the incision heals properly and that there is a reduced risk of reattachment of the frenulum.
This will help you and your child feel prepared for the surgery.
We would recommend three to four sessions before your child’s frenectomy, but your mileage may vary.
Once your child has had their frenectomy, your speech therapist will check how your child’s tongue is resting on their palate to make sure the positioning is as expected and they are appropriately able to breathe through their nose.
They can also address any lingering speech issues that may be there after the surgery, so your child will have a clean slate going forward.
Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today
Does it sound like your child would benefit from speech therapy for their tongue tie?
At Voz Speech Therapy, we’re here to help.
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005
Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.