When a child is born with tongue-tie, or Tethered Oral Tissue (TOT), the condition will sometimes resolve itself or it won’t. In the event that it doesn’t, tongue-tie treatment becomes essential to prevent problems that occur literally from head to toe. If a previous doctor or dentist notified you that your child has tongue-tie, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth it to get the procedure. In making your decision, we encourage you to learn what happens if you don’t treat your child’s tongue-tie.

young boy standing outside school with backpack and a smile

What Causes Tongue-Tie?

Since tongue-tie is something your child is born with, we understand why you might want to know what causes it. As the embryo develops in the womb, the tongue separates itself from the floor of the mouth. The thin cord of tissue known as the frenulum connects the base of the tongue to the roof of the mouth. Usually, the frenulum will thin out and shrink to allow the tongue to move in a complete range of motion. When the frenulum doesn’t thin out or recede, it causes a tongue-tie. No one is certain why this happens during development. There isn’t any evidence to support whether tongue-tie is inherited or not.

If your child is born with a tongue-tie, know that it’s nobody’s fault and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it. However, it is up to you to help your baby receive tongue-tie treatment as soon as possible to prevent issues down the road.

Signs Your Child Might Have Tongue-Tie

The good thing about tongue-tie is that there are lots of obvious symptoms you can watch for in your baby. As your child gets older, the symptoms will begin to change.

Watch for these symptoms in your baby:

  • Difficulty to latch while breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding for long periods
  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Clicking sound during feeding
  • Constant hunger
  • Heart-shaped tip of the tongue

Breastfeeding mothers might display some of their own symptoms including cracked or sore nipples, insufficient milk supply, mastitis, depression, sense of failure, nipple damage, and pain during nursing.

If you notice any of these symptoms, we highly encourage you to schedule an appointment at the Wisconsin Tongue-Tie Center for a consultation.

As your baby grows into a young child, they will start to show different symptoms including:

  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Struggle to lick ice cream
  • Speech impediments
  • Inability to move the tongue in a full range of motion
  • Difficulty playing wind instruments
  • Inability to stick tongue out

The sooner you recognize these symptoms in your children, the sooner you can get them the treatment they need. Otherwise, untreated tongue-tie can result in several health consequences.

Consequences of Untreated Tongue-Tie

Without treating tongue-tie, it can affect the health of your child through different ages in their life.

During infancy, untreated tongue-tie can result in these health consequences:

  • Poor bonding between mother and baby
  • Sleep deprivation for both mother and baby
  • Issues introducing solid food
  • Failure to thrive
  • Stopped breastfeeding

After tongue-tie goes untreated as the baby grows into a young child, the child may experience these health consequences:

  • Inability to chew
  • Choking, gagging, or vomiting foods
  • Eating in food fads
  • Difficulty with dental hygiene
  • Dribbling
  • Dental issues begin to show
  • Delayed speech development
  • Behavior problem
  • Speech deterioration
  • Loss of self-confidence because they speak differently

If tongue-tie persists without treatment into adulthood, it can result in even more consequences including:

  • Clicking or popping jaws
  • Jaw pain
  • Migraines
  • Protrusion of lower jaw
  • Problems with social situations including eating, relationships, and kissing
  • Difficulty talking after consuming small amounts of alcohol
  • Inability to speak fast, soft, or loud clearly
  • Dental problems including gum disease, persistent cavities, and the need for extractions
  • High-stress level
  • Sensitivity about appearance
  • In seniors, dentures can be difficult to keep in place

Not treating tongue-tie at an early age can result in the need for a lot of medical intervention down the road from speech therapists, psychologists, and especially dentists. Early treatment can prevent a wide array of both physical and mental health consequences.

Tongue-Tie Treatment in Fort Atkinson

Fortunately, treating tongue-tie at any age is easy with help from the Wisconsin Tongue-Tie Center. Our dentists use a LightScapel CO2 soft tissue laser to release the frenulum and allow the tongue to move in a full range of motion. The dental laser makes the procedure fast while reducing discomfort, bleeding, and healing time in comparison to traditional scalpel methods. Babies usually don’t require any follow-up treatment, but children or adults may require further treatments to remedy the effects of untreated tongue-tie.

Whether you are an adult with a tongue-tie or have a child or baby you suspect has a tongue-tie, we highly encourage you to book a consultation with our Fort Atkinson tongue-tie dentists for a consultation. Please call (920) 563-7323 to book an appointment today.