We know that tethered tongue is associated with many immediate problems, like latching in breastfeeding. Now, researchers are investigating how this adversely affects a child’s growth. They examined children ages 2 to 16 with untreated tongue-tie issues and found severe development problems in children who had not received frenectomy treatment as infants. Their findings were recently published in the International Journal of Pediatric Research.
Children Sleep Apnea
These problems included anatomical changes, causing abnormal face development and reduced oral cavity size. This results in weak facial structure and abnormal anatomic support of the upper airway. This can lead to a collapse of the airway during sleep and decreased oxygen saturation. Sleep disordered breathing, or sleep apnea, is a serious problem that can lead to poor sleep, fatigue, mouth breathing, snoring, and other abnormal breathing during sleep. Mouth breathing may be a factor in tonsil enlargement because it causes micro trauma to the back of the throat.
Other serious developmental mouth problems caused by tongue tie include a hard and narrow palate and distortion of the “harmonic face”. Many children had enlarged tonsils and many needed orthodontic treatment. Also, because the tongue-tie had gone untreated, many of the children had problems with swallowing and chewing, some had needed speech therapy, and some needed myofunctional treatment with a specialist to develop proper function of the tongue and facial muscles.
The study’s conclusion is that children with “SDB (sleep-disordered breathing) should be evaluated for a short lingual frenulum (tongue-tie), and children with an abnormally short frenulum should be investigated for the presence of SDB.”
The researchers stated that frenectomy problems cause serious problems “early in life, as orofacial growth is particularly fast during the first two years of life.” Sadly, most of the parents of the children who were studied were never told there was a problem, nor was the child diagnosed with a short lingual frenectomy in infancy.
They recommend that “frenectomy should be performed as early as possible.” Please check our Frenectomy section to learn more about our laser frenectomy procedure.