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This post is the third in a series on tongue tie, its symptoms and classification, and its treatment using functional frenuloplasty and myofunctional therapy. If you haven’t read parts 1 and 2 yet, I recommend you do before continuing.
In tongue tie cases where surgical intervention is required to restore proper function and range of motion of the tongue, the key question is this: what is the smallest possible revision a surgeon can make to achieve the desired result? This is important to consider because the less tissue has to be revised, the faster the patients recovery will generally be, and the less pain they will generally experience. Historically, if the lingual frenulum was causing any problems, doctors would perform a large revision. This usually solves the problem, but it’s a bit like going after a cockroach with a sledgehammer. Any modern, researched performer of frenuloplasty will only perform the surgery when absolutely necessary, and only revise the minimum possible amount of frenulum to achieve the desired result.
While tongue tie has occurred in humans in humans as far back as we’re aware, and even frenuloplasty has been around for generations, myofunctional therapy is a relatively new field by comparison. While the treatment for tongue tie is nearly always surgical, myofunctional therapy still has an important role to play in these cases.
After the frenulum has been appropriately revised, the next step is to get the patient into myofunctional therapy. First of all, this will help accelerate their recovery. But, more importantly, the muscles and structures of the mouth need to be retrained. They’ve become accustomed to the pre-surgical condition of the mouth, which means they essentially need to be taught new patterns of functional movement. This is particularly true in older patients whose speech was affected by the tongue tie. Under the guidance of a myofunctional therapist, a simple routine of exercises can strengthen and retrain the muscles of the tongue, face, and jaw to speed recovery and ensure proper post-surgical function.
Want to learn more about tongue tie? Check out our page on treating tongue tie with functional frenuloplasty and myofunctional therapy.