My provider said my child has a tongue tie, what's that?
We all have tissues in our mouths that keep things in place. However, we label these tissues as "tethered oral tissues (TOTs)" when they begin to restrict the range of motion of our mouth structures. These tissues are congenital in nature, meaning people are born with them. There are 7 total frenula in the mouth including: one lingual frenulum (tongue,) two labial frenula (lips), and four buccal frenula (cheeks.) When a person is diagnosed with a tissue that is restricting their range of motion because it is contributing to functional difficulties (e.g., not being able to move food to the molars to chew, not being able to gently close lips together at rest) it is considered a restricted "tie." A restricted "tie" of the tongue is called ankyloglossia, of the lips is called ankylolabia, and a restriction of cheek movement is called a buccal tie.
Do we HAVE to receive therapy? Why can't I just get it taken care of right away?
The short answer is yes. If a professional that is proficient in tethered oral tissues diagnosis any tethered oral tissue, an evaluation and therapy should be completed BEFORE and AFTER the release is performed. Intervention before the release is necessary to assess baseline functioning for speech, chewing, swallowing, and resting posture; and to begin restoring proper functioning in these areas to as close as typical as possible. If a TOT is released before completing therapy, it is very possible that the structures won't gain the full mobility they would have if therapy was completed before.
O.K. I think my child has a tie, but how can I be sure?
A functional assessment by a professional trained in ties is recommended to determine if there is an impact on oral function. To complete a self screener, take a look at this checklist.
If a functional impact is identified, therapy will be initiated and a referral to consult with a release provider will be made once therapeutic readiness has been achieved for optimal results. Referrals to other providers such orthodontists, ENTS, body workers, etc will be made as necessary for optimal oral facial development and growth.