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Imagine not being able to lick an ice cream cone, lick your lips or deeply kiss the one you love. Perhaps you or your child have been diagnosed with ankyloglossia (tongue tie). Not every case needs surgical intervention, but early detection is still important.

Unfortunately, timely treatment does not always happen. Some children mask their symptoms so well, the tongue tie goes unrecognized. Regrettably, not all who suffer from this condition have help available when they need it.

Development Difficulties at the Start

The child living with a restricted lingual frenum, (the oral structure causing ankyloglossia), will have challenges to growth and development as well as negative effects on health. They will develop habits to compensate for the tongue’s limited range of motion that will likely result in oral development issues, effective eating, clear speech, swallowing and sleep complications.

In the most severe cases, there is the very real issue that a baby or small child will not be able to thrive. Typically, they fail to latch on to the breast or need to eat more frequently. Because of structural defects, the mother may suffer significant pain in the nipples. This may go so far that there is trouble bonding with the mother. As time goes on, the difficulty follows in trouble with swallowing and the transition to solid food. The tied tongue denies the child of vital nutrition for healthy development.

The consequences of oral problems often extend to developmental issues with the face, speech, teeth and jaw alignment. This leads to mouth breathing, which in turn will lead to severely misaligned teeth and difficulties with chewing and swallowing of food. There is often an aversion to certain foods that are difficult to swallow. Because the child is unable to sweep food debris from the teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are prevalent problems.

Other Life-Long Effects

There are four remaining development points in the untreated child or adult that need to be mentioned. Those with a narrowed upper palate will cause the tongue to rest too low in the mouth; this creates an issue with proper sleep called sleep apnea. This can begin as early as infancy and continues into adulthood. If there is an immobile sternum, the child will be more susceptible to acid reflux, heartburn or hernias as they age. And speech impediments, primarily the difficulty with the sounds of: “t,” “d,” “z,” “s,” “th,” “r” and “l,” increase the difficulty in communicating and cause self-consciousness and diminished self-esteem.

Help Is Available

The longer a child copes with a tongue tie, the more widespread the physical and emotional impact. The emotional impact can be significant. If you or your child have been diagnosed with ankyloglossia, do not delay. Call South Carolina Tongue Tie Center for treatment. Help is available.


Posted on behalf of South Carolina Tongue Tie Center

538 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407

Phone: 843-654-0459


Monday - Thursday: 8am - 5pm
Friday: 8am - 2pm

Our Patient Reviews

South Carolina Tongue Tie Center

4.7 / 5.0

Based on 5 reviews

  • Talia H.

    Great experience with my visit to Dr. McPhearson and Carrie, hygienist. Dr. McPhearson is so patient, kind, and a perfectionist. She cares deeply that you have a great dental visit every time.

  • Maham A.

    I saw Dr. Caitlin McPherson and she is absolutely amazing. Not only does she make sure that everything is beautiful and functional, but she also treats every patient and their concerns with the utmost kindness.

  • Frankie W.

    Dr. McPherson is absolutely the best I highly recommend her and her team for all of your dental needs.

  • Phillip R.

    Everyone is so nice and they all seem to have good comradery. Mallory, Taylor, and Dr. Caitlin McPherson definitely know what they're doing!

  • Kyle A.

    The staff is always friendly & Dr McPherson does a great job every time!

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