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Tongue ties are congenital (from birth) when the lingual frenulum is too thick or too short, restricting movement of the tongue. While most people opt for speech therapy or surgery in childhood, symptoms can continue to affect people in their adulthood.

What Are the Symptoms of Tongue-ties In Adults?

In adults, like children, tongue-ties can affect speech. Adults with a tongue-tie are often able to speak normally in many situations, but struggle to speak clearly when talking loudly, quickly or softly. Tongue-ties can also affect our health, such as causing repeated inflamed gums and tooth decay. The condition can also increase tongue thrust, protrusion of the lower jaw, breathing problems and sleep problems, including sleep apnea. Those with dentures may also find it more difficult to keep them in place.

Tongue-ties can severely restrict the range of motion and movement of the tongue. This can make it difficult or impossible to rest your tongue comfortably. It may also be difficult to swallow pills. Visually, your tongue may appear heart-shaped or misshapen when sticking your tongue out, and it may feel uncomfortable. Tongue-ties are also associated with Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders, which can cause serious problems including jaw pain, jaw locking, jaw clicking and migraines. All of these issues can also affect our self-esteem.

Treatments for Tongue-ties in Adults

If problems are primarily related to speech, speech therapy should be considered. However, in cases where other symptoms are present and where speech therapy fails to resolve the symptoms, a tongue-tie procedure can be considered.

The procedure to release the frenulum, giving the tongue a greater range of motion, is called a frenectomy. The best option is to have the frenulum released with a laser instead of surgically cutting the lingual frenulum. Surgically cutting the frenulum can cause bleeding, infection and scarring, as well as a chance of damage to the tongue and the salivary glands. These risks are minimized and pain is reduced with the use of a handheld laser. The procedure involves numbing and sterilizing the area, then releasing the frenulum with the laser. The procedure takes less than a minute to complete and no downtime is needed after the treatment.

It’s never too late to do something about a tongue-tie. If you are having problems associated with a tongue-tie, schedule a consultation at the South Carolina Tongue Tie Center in Charleston.

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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