Often, people think that tongue tie is mostly an issue for breastfeeding babies. However, as we’ve discussed before, tongue tie can affect you in many ways throughout your life. Even as an older adult, it’s never too late to get tongue tie release.

One of the impacts of tongue tie is that it might increase your risk of dental cavities. People with tongue tie have an increased risk for cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems. This alone makes it worth it to get tongue tie release for older children and young adults, as well as older adults.

If you want to learn how you might benefit from tongue tie release (also called a frenectomy), a Home at the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea can help.

up close image of adult having teeth inspected

Clean Properly

Although your tongue has a healthy resting position, that doesn’t mean that your tongue spends most of its day resting. Not at all. Your tongue is busy all day long. Your tongue performs many tasks during eating and after. When you’re eating, your tongue helps move food between the upper and lower arches of your teeth so that your teeth can chew the food.

However, your tongue’s work doesn’t stop when you finish chewing. After you finish chewing your food, your tongue has one more job: cleaning up after the meal. Your tongue moves around your mouth, running itself along all the surfaces it can reach to remove plaque: food debris, bacteria, and the bacteria’s protective coating.

Your tongue can’t completely eliminate the plaque on your teeth. Otherwise, there would be little need to brush and floss your teeth or get professional cleanings at a Lee’s Summit dentist. However, the cleaning it does can make a difference, keeping your teeth cleaner all day long. This reduces the amount of plaque on your teeth and shortens the time that plaque stays on your teeth.

Develop Fully

Another benefit of getting tongue tie release as an infant or young child is that it can help influence the development of your dental arch. Genes control when your dental arch goes through periods of growth, but how much your arch actually grows is dependent on the intersection of different forces during your development.

When you chew, the forces of your jaw muscles, your cheeks, and your tongue develop a balance to determine how much your jaw grows. In this process,  your tongue plays the vital role of pushing outward. Eating food that is hard to chew helps stimulate the growth of your jaw, and the pressure from your tongue ensures that the arch expands during chewing. If your tongue is tied and has restricted motion, your jaw won’t grow as much.

If your jaw doesn’t grow as much, there won’t be enough room for your teeth in your dental arches. With less room for your teeth, they will come in crooked and crowded.

Crooked and crowded teeth aren’t just a cosmetic problem. They are a challenge to clean by brushing and flossing. If you can’t clean your teeth properly, you are more likely to develop cavities and gum disease.

Children who get tongue tie release and have other targeted interventions from a Lee’s Summit dentist during jaw development might be able to avoid crooked teeth and the need for braces later in life. This can also help them avoid cavities.

Breathe Easily

Poor jaw development doesn’t just impact your teeth. A person might also experience problems with their facial appearance related to poor jaw development, such as a sunken midface or receding chin. These are visual markers of an important functional impact: a poorly developed airway.

The size of your upper and lower jaws determines the size of your airway. If your jaws are small, your airway will be too. An airway can make it hard to breathe at all times, but it becomes especially difficult to breathe during sleep.

Difficulty breathing can make you more likely to breathe through your mouth. Breathing through your mouth leads to a dry mouth. Dry mouth creates an acidic environment where bacteria flourish, and your tooth enamel breaks down. This speeds up the development of cavities.

Correcting the Effects of Tongue Tie

It’s never too late to get a tongue tie released, but a frenectomy doesn’t automatically undo the impacts of a tongue tie throughout your life. Your freed tongue will immediately do a better job of cleaning your teeth, but in order to reverse effects like crooked teeth and a poorly developed airway, you need more active interventions.

This is where orthodontics at the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Independence can help. Straightening teeth and encouraging the development of your jaw can improve the function and health of your mouth. This is easier when we start younger, but everyone can still benefit.

Tongue Tie Release in Independence, MO

If you are looking for tongue tie release for your child or for you, we can help. At the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Independance, we perform tongue tie releases for people of all ages. This can reduce the number of cavities you or your child develop and the number of fillings they need.

Please call (816) 795-1000 or use our online form to request an appointment at our office in Lee’s Summit, near exit 11 from 470 (83rd St).