Long-Term Effects of Untreated Tongue-Tie in Adults

untreated tongue tie in adults

untreated tongue tie in adultsKnoxville and Maryville, TN

When a tongue-tie in a child goes untreated, it can have lasting ramifications on a person by the time they reach adulthood. By this point, a person with a tongue-tie has developed a variety of adaptations to compensate for the lack of motion. Many of these behaviors are negative or detrimental. Your Maryville dentists at Crestview Dental Care can treat these behaviors while also releasing the tongue-tie.

A tongue-tie can affect several areas of the life of an adult

These areas of potential difficulty include social situations, domestic life, self-esteem, and the workplace, while also impacting dental health. The longer a person lives with an untreated tongue-tie, the more significant the impact on their lifestyle.

The specific challenges facing an adult with a tongue-tie may include:

  • Inability to open the mouth widely, impacting speech and eating habits
  • Difficulty speaking clearly, especially when talking quickly, loudly, or softly
  • Self-conscious about speaking due to the above issues
  • Hearing a clicking sound as the jaws open and close
  • Pain in the jaws or jaw joints
  • Painful headaches that occur regularly, including migraine headaches
  • Protrusion of the lower jaws, also known as inferior prognathism
  • Hesitancy to eat in restaurants
  • Negatively impacting dating, kissing, and relationships
  • Increasing your risk for gum disease, as well as the likelihood of fillings and/or extractions
  • Self-conscious about personal appearance
  • A greater likelihood of developing acid reflux or heartburn, as well as a hiatal hernia
  • Neck pain, emanating from tightness in the front of the neck or the base of the skull
  • More risk of a sleep breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea
  • In elderly patients, difficulty keeping dentures in place
  • A higher risk of temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJ disorder or TMD)

A tongue-tie can affect your appearance

For people with a tongue-tie, their tongues look differently. The tongue may appear small, rounded, and/or indented with a heart-shaped look. Even if this heart shape is not evident, the function of the tongue still could be hindered.

Bad habits develop unconsciously as a person lives with a limited range of motion in the tongue. These habits may include mouth breathing, aerophagia (also known as the excessive swallowing of air), and forward tongue position. The impacts of a tongue-tie on speech lead to lowered self-confidence, and even difficulty forming social bonds and friendships or finding employment.

Tongue-tie often results in an open mouth resting posture where the lips are separated, while the tongue rests low in the mouth. If mouth breathing has been a habit since childhood, the facial structure has been altered to a more elongated, narrow look with a recessed chin.

Myofunctional Therapist in Knoxville

Crestview Dental Care is proud to offer myofunctional therapy, which can be used to correct the bad habits that develop unconsciously as a consequence of living with a tongue-tie. A trained myofunctional therapist can prescribe a series of simple, painless exercises that work the tongue, as well as the muscles of the face and mouth. Performed over time, these exercises eliminate detrimental behaviors.

In older children and adults, Crestview Dental Care usually prescribes myofunctional therapy even before performing a frenectomy, which releases the tongue-tie in a matter of minutes using our efficient carbon dioxide laser.

Remember, your Maryville dentists at Crestview Dental Care have a wealth of collective experience identifying and treating tongue-ties and lip-ties—as well as any negative behaviors that formed after living with such tethered oral tissue. Contact our office at (865) 982-1700 to schedule a consultation.

Crestview Dental Care is here to serve patients in the areas of Maryville and Knoxville in Tennessee.