Tongue-Tie Treatment

Tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a congenital condition that restricts the tongue’s range of motion. The tongue is connected to the floor of the mouth by a band of tissue called the lingual frenulum. Typically, this frenulum separates before birth, allowing the tongue to move freely.

However, in cases of tongue-tie, the frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue, potentially interfering with an infant’s ability to latch and feed effectively during breastfeeding. While tongue-tie typically does not cause mechanical difficulties in oral hygiene, it can affect a child’s speech articulation. The cause of tongue-tie is largely unknown, but some cases have been associated with certain genetic factors.

Symptoms and signs of tongue-tie include difficulty with breastfeeding, inability to lift the tongue to the upper teeth or move it from side to side, trouble sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth, or a notched or heart-shaped appearance of the tongue when stuck out.

If tongue-tie interferes with feeding, speech, oral hygiene, or causes discomfort, surgical intervention such as a frenotomy or frenuloplasty may be necessary.

Now, let’s explore four ways chiropractic care can potentially help avoid surgery or assist before or after a tongue-tie surgery, or aid in addressing feeding dysfunction.

  1. Reducing Nerve Interference to Tongue Muscles: Tongue tightness can be caused not only by issues with the lingual frenulum but also by interference in the transmission of signals from the hypoglossal nerve (cranial nerve XII), which controls the movement of the tongue muscle. Adjustments to the baby’s neck, intra-oral cranial bones, and soft tissues can improve and clear these signals, allowing the tongue to relax and enabling proper latching and breastfeeding.
  2. Aligning Bone and Joint Structures Attached to the Tongue: The tongue muscle is attached to the bones of the head and neck, and if these structures are not aligned in a functional position, the soft tissues connected to them can become distorted, restricting tongue motion. This condition is known as a “biomechanical tongue-tie.” Proper alignment of these structures via chiropractic adjustments optimizes their function and allows for proper tongue movement.
  3. Ruling Out the Frenulum as the Culprit: The frenulum is not always the cause of tongue restriction. A tight jaw or misaligned vertebra (subluxation) may be the reason for tongue restriction and may also cause an ineffective latch or milk transfer. Receiving chiropractic care prior to a tongue-tie evaluation or surgery can help assess the tongue’s natural state and identify the root cause.
  4. Enhancing Results of Tongue-Tie Surgery: If tongue-tie surgery is necessary, consider “pre-habilitation” to provide the surgeon with optimal tissue conditions during surgery. Achieving alignment of the head and neck structures prior to surgery is essential for the procedure’s effectiveness and optimal wound healing. If surgery is required, chiropractic care can help rehabilitate the head, spine, and tongue, correcting motor skill development, supporting ideal wound healing, and optimizing the anatomy to accommodate the changes created by the surgery.

Chiropractic care in general promotes support for an infant’s growing spine, optimum healing, and adaptation to birth stresses, traumas, and strains. Seeing a chiropractor can decrease the chance of surgery or provide post-surgical support, enabling the infant to achieve normal physiological function and performance.

Our Team At GreenLeaf Chiropractic In Wichita, Kansas Is Looking Forward To Meeting You!

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