Erie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA
Your tongue helps you to speak, swallow, and chew. It does loads of other things you do daily—often without even thinking about it. This muscular organ is a necessary part of your body. However, your tongue may have issues with its range of motion that may be affecting you negatively without you even realizing it. Dr. Albert Starr of Laser Dentistry of Erie finds that many patients have never heard of a tongue-tie, and don’t know that it requires treatment. That’s why we gathered this list of specific things everyone should know about tongue-ties, and what to do if you think that you might have one.
A tongue-tie is a restricted lingual frenum
Your tongue is connected to the floor of your mouth by a thick band of tissue called a lingual frenum, which connects your tongue to your mouth can be too short or too tight. This can limit the range of motion in your tongue and impair your ability to use it.
What causes a tongue-tie?
Your lingual frenum separates from the tongue before birth, allowing the tongue free range of motion. When you have a tongue-tie, the lingual frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue. It is suggested that some cases of tongue-tie have been associated with certain genetic factors.
Know the symptoms of a tongue-tie
Tongue-ties are often noticed during infancy or early childhood but may go unchecked well into your adult years.
The most notable symptoms of a tongue tie include the following, depending on your stage of life:
- Impaired speech
- Difficulty latching during breastfeeding for babies
- Increased likelihood of obstructive sleep apnea
- TMJ Disorder (causing headaches, neck pain, and possibly bruxism)
- Difficulty lifting the tongue
- Struggling when sticking out your tongue (it tends to appear heart-shaped when sticking out)
- Poor oral hygiene
- Problems swallowing
Treating a tongue-tie is crucial
In many instances, a tongue-tie is noticed from birth. Generally speaking, the best course of action is to have a tongue-tie treated as soon as possible. The most common treatment is to have the tongue-tie released—a procedure known as a frenectomy. This is a surgical procedure that can be done using a dental laser. Dr. Albert Starr will examine your tongue and, if he detects a tongue-tie, it can be released using our precise dental laser. Rather than use a scalpel to cut the frenum by hand, our laser can release a tongue-tie in a matter of seconds, doing so with less bleeding. Discomfort also is minimal; even infants often do not need a local anesthetic before undergoing a laser frenectomy. Learn more about the benefits of laser dentistry.
Not releasing the tongue-tie can result in unfavorable consequences, such as sleep apnea, a long, narrow face structure, recessed chin, speech impediment, and more.
Tongue-tie Release in Erie
When it comes to tongue-ties, detection and treatment are crucial. Dr. Albert Starr wants to help you and your loved ones to prevent the lasting consequences that can come from living with a tongue-tie. Contact Laser Dentistry of Erie today at (814) 825-2615 if you are located in the areas of Harborcreek, Millcreek, or Erie, PA to make an appointment today.