When you think of a tongue-tie, you may associate it with a newborn baby who can’t nurse, but did you know that adults can have one too? According to some estimates, around 25 percent of infants have a restrictive tongue-tie. However, due to several reasons, some babies with tongue-ties seem to fly under the radar. Those who go undiagnosed continue to have their tongue-ties into adulthood, but can a tongue-tie really be bad for fully grown patients? Is it too late to treat a tongue-tie in an adult? Read on to find out more valuable information.
How Tongue-Ties Form and Stay Unnoticed into Adulthood
In the womb, every fetus has a small piece of tissue, called a frenulum, that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. While still in utero, most babies lose this frenulum. For those who retain it, their oral functioning can be challenged or impaired from the restriction. In this situation, it is considered a tongue-tie. Babies with tongue-ties are often unable to latch onto a breast properly to feed. In these cases, they either become bottle fed or the tongue-tie is identified and treated.
However, babies with this problem who are bottle fed may get necessary nutrition without using their tongue, in which case, their tongue-tie may not be diagnosed early on in life.
Symptoms of Tongue-Ties in Adults
Unfortunately, tongue-ties do not naturally stretch or disappear over time. A restrictive tongue-tie may manifest in adults in several ways, including the following:
- Difficulty in speech, such as a history of speech therapy, getting tired when talking, mumbling, or stuttering.
- Trouble swallowing pills or handling certain kinds of food textures.
- Slow eating.
- Sleep challenges, such as snoring, teeth grinding, poor sleep, or sleep apnea.
- Neck or shoulder pain or headaches.
Why a Tongue-Tie Should Be Treated
If you have a tongue-tie as an adult, you may feel accustomed to dealing with it. However, addressing the tongue-tie can significantly improve your quality of life. And what’s more, you can notice at least a little bit of improvement almost immediately following the procedure. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll likely need additional therapy to break old habits and truly enjoy the results of tongue-tie treatment.
It’s never too late to address a tongue-tie that is hindering your oral function. Treatment is not just for babies, and the procedure to correct the tongue-tie is fast and gentle. In fact, you may not need to receive a local anesthetic at all! It’s worth talking to a tongue-tie expert and learning more to see if you could benefit from treatment as an adult.
About the Practice
At Chicago Tongue-Tie Center, we welcome patients of all ages. When we treat tongue-ties, we take advantage of innovative technology with a soft tissue laser. This allows us to sever the tissue in a pain-free way with very little, if any, bleeding and a short recovery period. Dr. Justin and Dr. Bindi both have years of advanced training to deal with this issue and work with this technology on a daily basis. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with us, you may contact our Chicago office by calling 312-248-2455 or visiting our Contact Us page here.