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Symptoms of Tongue-Tie in Adults

Tongue-tie is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue’s mobility. Although most children have their tongue-ties treated in adolescence, it’s not unheard of for adults to suffer from tongue-tie without ever having a treatment in their past. Although treating tongue-tie as young as possible is preferred, it can still drastically increase the quality of life for adults who have tongue-tie.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of tongue-tie in adults to watch out for.

Poor Oral Health

One of the first symptoms of tongue-tie in adults is poor oral health. When your tongue has limited mobility, it becomes difficult to remove food and debris from the teeth after eating. Tongue-tie can also cause a gap between the bottom front teeth. Adults with tongue-tie may experience frequent cavities, gum inflammation, gum disease, bad breath, and other oral health problems.

Speech Issues

With a tongue that’s unable to move in a free range of motion, articulating certain sounds can be difficult and cause speech issues in not just adults with tongue-tie, but all ages. Tongue-tie can make the following sounds difficult to pronounce:

  • “T”
  • “D”
  • “Z”
  • “S”
  • “Th”
  • “R”
  • “L”

If you find some of these sounds difficult to pronounce, there’s a good chance you have a tongue-tie.

Mouth Breathing

Tongue-tie can also affect your ability to breathe through your nose. When tongue-tie is present, it can prevent the upper palate from developing large or high enough. As a result, there is not enough space for nasal breathing. Mouth breathing can result in an increased risk of cavities and gum disease because it can cause dry mouth.

Reduced Quality of Life

Tongue-tie in adults can also result in overall reduced quality of life. When someone grows up with a tongue-tie, it will force them to adapt to certain areas of their life to accommodate their limitations. For instance, one might not eat certain foods because their tongue-tie prevents them. They may eat more unhealthy foods because they’re easier to eat but suffer other health consequences as a result. People with tongue-tie may also have difficulty licking their lips, kissing, or playing a wind instrument. Having these types of limitations can result in overall reduced quality of life.

Heart-Shaped Tongue

Another symptom of tongue-tie in adults is a heart-shaped tongue. When someone with a tongue-tie sticks their tongue out, the end will resemble a heart shape. This is because the frenulum that’s attached to the bottom of the mouth extends all the way to the tip of the tongue.

TMJ Dysfunction

Another major symptom of tongue-tie in adults is TMJ dysfunction. When the tongue is unable to move in a full range of motion, the mouth naturally adapts to cope. One of the ways the mouth copes is by swallowing incorrectly. Normally, the tongue will push food around in the mouth to the back to swallow but when a tongue-tie is present, this cannot happen. Instead, people with tongue-tie have food move around in their mouth when they eat. This can lead to incorrect swallowing. With consistent incorrect swallowing, teeth can come misaligned and the jaw will develop incorrectly. The misaligned teeth and jaw development issues can cause an imbalance in the jaw joints which results in TMJ disorders.

TMJ disorders can lead to serious symptoms like frequent headaches and migraines, jaw, neck, and back pain, clicking and popping jaw, and much more.

Sleep Apnea

The last symptom of tongue-tie in adults is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes the body to stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. Tongue-tie can cause sleep apnea as a result of an underdeveloped palate which can cause a smaller airway. When someone with a smaller palate goes to sleep, they’re at a higher risk of their upper airway collapsing – which is the cause of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, moodiness, and result in car accidents. Without treatment, it can also increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.

Get Tongue-Tie Treatment in Fort Atkinson

If you’re an adult who believes they may have a tongue-tie, we strongly encourage you to schedule a consultation at the Wisconsin Tongue-Tie Center as part of the BKS Dental Group. During your consultation with our dentists, we will determine if you have a tongue tie and provide you with treatment. The treatment is very simple and fast. First, we will numb the area with a local anesthetic, and then using our C02 Lightscapel laser, we will release the tongue-tie. Following the procedure, you may need further dental work to remedy the effects of untreated tongue-tie.

Improve the quality of your life today with help from tongue-tie treatment in Fort Atkinson. Please call (920) 563-7323 to book an appointment at the Wisconsin Tongue-Tie Center.

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