Tongue/lip tie clinic

Tongue and lip ties in children

Role of the Tongue and Lips

Optimum function and posture of the tongue and lips are important for:

  1. Efficient breastfeeding
  2. Efficient chewing, swallowing, oral hygiene
  3. Speech articulation, projection and efficiency
  4. Optimum facial and jaw growth and development
  5. Airway and Posture


Signs and Symptoms of Tongue and/ or Lip Ties

Oral restrictions such as tongue ties can manifest in many different ways, and it may be helpful to observe your child and keep a record of common symptoms that may be associated with a tongue tie. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Slow and/or messy eating or preferences for certain textures
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chin/lip/head moves when swallowing
  • Speech errors/ challenges
  • Mouth open posture 
  • Grinding, snoring or mouth breathing at night


Optimising Tongue Function

Tongue function is optimized when it is free to move in all directions without effort. The tongue facilitates breastfeeding, speech production, chewing, swallowing and digestion.  When tongue movement is restricted, compensations occur in surrounding structures.

 Resting and swallowing with the tongue against the roof of the mouth and the lips together creates and maintains an upper jaw wide and long enough to fit the upper teeth, which can then bite correctly against the lower teeth and jaw.  This further supports nasal breathing during sleep and wakefulness, which is the foundation of good airway health.


Posture and oral restrictions

Oral restrictions physically limit the movement of the attached muscle, thereby impairing its function. The muscles of the head, neck and shoulders will then compensate to facilitate breathing, eating and speaking. This may result in a more forward head posture, which impacts body posture.


Functional Frenuloplasty and Oromyofunctional Therapy

Our paediatric dentists specialise in the functional frenuloplasty technique, mentored by Dr Soroush Zaghi, an Ear-Nose and Throat surgeon at the Breathe Institute in Los Angeles.  The goal of functional frenuloplasty is to further faciliate strenghtening and toning of the tongue through oromyofunctional therapy for optimal functional gain. 

The Breathe Institute describes "Frenuloplasty as a relatively minor surgical procedure performed to loosen or remove overly large, tight, or poorly positioned band(s) of tissue that are present inside the mouth, connected to the lip, cheeks or floor of the mouth (frenum) - a condition commonly referred to as being “tongue-tied” or “ankyloglossia” – which can cause speech impediments and difficulties with chewing, swallowing and other aspects of oral function. In some older children, teens and adults, cause daily discomfort/pain and lead to mouth breathing. Once the tissue has been removed, the wound will typically be sutured. Frenuloplasty is a quick procedure, generally taking less than 45 minutes, and is often performed with just local anesthesia in adults."