Consequences of Tongue Ties

Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA

The consequences of an untreated tongue tie can be many and varied, depending largely on the age of the subject and the severity of the condition. The demands made on us increase as we grow older, and our environment becomes less forgiving of mistakes. Delay in treatment, therefore, can have very negative consequences.

For Infants

Inability to breastfeed successfully in the presence of a tongue tie can cause a variety of challenges for the infant, the mother and the family.

For the baby, these may include:

  • Impact on milk supply
  • Termination of breastfeeding
  • The baby failing to thrive
  • Poor bonding between baby and mother
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Problems with introducing solids

The maternal experience of breastfeeding a tongue-tied baby may include:

  • Pain
  • Nipple damage, bleeding, blanching or distortion of the nipples
  • Mastitis, nipple thrush or blocked ducts
  • Severe pain with latch or losing latch
  • Sleep deprivation caused by the baby being unsettled
  • Depression or a sense of failure

For Children

Children with a tongue tie have to contend with difficulties that may only be discovered as they grow older.

These can include:

  • Improper development of jaw and facial structures
  • Linked to increased odds of developing sleep disordered breathing
  • Mouth breathing
  • Inability to chew age appropriate solid foods
  • Gagging, choking or vomiting foods
  • Difficulties related to dental hygiene
  • Persistence of dribbling
  • Delayed development of speech
  • Deterioration in speech
  • Behavior problems
  • Dental problems starting to appear
  • Loss of self confidence because they feel and sound ‘different’
  • Strong, incorrect habits of compensation being acquired (myofunctional disorders)

For Adults

What adults have to contend with is very much the result of old habits of compensation for inadequate tongue mobility. The areas of difficulty spread to include social and domestic situations, self-esteem, the work environment, and dental health. Thus it is seen that the consequences of unrepaired tongue tie do not reduce with time – instead, more difficulties are experienced as time passes.

The specific challenges an adult with a tongue tie may face include:

  • Linked to increased odds of developing Sleep Disordered Breathing and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Clicky jaws
  • Pain in the jaws/TMJ development
  • Clenching/Grinding of the teeth
  • Migraines/Headaches
  • Myofunctional Disorders
  • Inability to open the mouth widely affects speech and eating habits
  • Difficulty with speech
  • Effects on social situations, eating out, kissing, relationships
  • Mouth breathing
  • Dental health, a tendency to have inflamed gums, and increased need for dental treatment
  • Tongue tie in the elderly often makes it difficult to keep a denture in place