Dental EducationGeneral DentistryOral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Can Adults get Tongue Tie Treatment?

tongue tie in adult

Tongue tie, or ankyloglossia, can be a debilitating condition for many adults, causing difficulty speaking, chewing, and swallowing. It can even lead to digestive issues and problems with sleep. Fortunately, there is hope for those affected by tongue ties. While it was traditionally thought that tongue tie was only a condition of infancy, it is now being recognized as a condition that can affect adults, too. In this article, we’ll explore the possibilities of adult tongue tie treatment and how it can help those experiencing the condition. We’ll look at the causes, symptoms, and types of adult tongue tie, as well as the treatment options available.

Surgical treatment of tongue-tie may be needed for infants, children or adults if tongue-tie causes problems. Surgical procedures include a frenotomy or frenuloplasty. It’s usually never too late to get tongue-tie treatment. However, the sooner tongue-tie is corrected, the fewer possible side effects this condition will likely cause you. The surgery to correct tongue-tie is called a frenectomy.

Causes and Symptoms of Adult Tongue Tie

Adult tongue tie is caused by an underdeveloped frenulum, the tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. In infants, this is normal and will usually fall off naturally by the baby’s first birthday. However, in some cases, it can remain as an adult. This can cause difficulty in breastfeeding and speech problems. Additionally, the condition may cause a variety of other issues, depending on its severity.

tongue ties in children
tongue ties in children

Common symptoms of adult tongue-tie include Difficulty chewing due to a lack of space between the teeth and the tongue Issues with the production of certain sounds Issues with the swallowing of saliva and Chronic pain Swallowing problems.

List of symptoms before tongue-tie treatment

Tiredness, lack of energy

Frequent dry lips


Lisp as child

Sleep apnea

Jaw pain and audible jaw click and pain on opening

Mouth breathing (air coming in on teeth)

Teeth grinding

Anxiety and depression

Types of Adult Tongue Tie

Tongue-tie occurs when a string of tissue under the tongue limits tongue movement to the point where it affects functions such as feeding and speaking. Tongue-tie can improve on its own by the age of two or three years.

Type 1: This type of tongue tie is also known as a “frenulum breve”. In this case, the frenulum that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too short. This means that the tongue is restricted from extending past the front of the mouth.

Type 2: This is the opposite of Type 1 and is called a “frenulum linguae”. It occurs when the frenulum is too long and restricts the movement of the tongue from the back of the mouth to the front.

Is tongue-tie surgery risky?

Complications of a frenotomy are rare — but could include bleeding or infection, or damage to the tongue or salivary glands. It’s also possible to have scarring or for the frenulum to reattach to the base of the tongue. If left untreated, moderate to severe cases of tongue-tie can cause problems including: Feeding problems, which can cause poor weight gain or malnourishment. (Breastfeeding is usually more difficult in comparison to bottle feeding when a baby has a tongue-tie.) Speech impediments, which can cause problems in school.

One of the first symptoms of tongue tie in adults is poor oral health. When your tongue has limited mobility, it becomes difficult to remove food and debris from the teeth after eating. Tongue tie can also cause a gap between the bottom front teeth. Adults with tongue tie may experience frequent cavities, gum inflammation, gum disease, bad breath, and other oral health problems.

Treatment Options for Adult Tongue Tie

Since adult tongue tie is a condition that is not visible on the surface, it can be challenging to detect. However, there are several treatment options available for adults with tongue ties. These include:

Frenectomy: This surgical procedure cuts the frenulum, releasing the tongue. It can have an effect on breastfeeding, but it can be done under local anaesthetic and is often an option for pregnant women.

Gingivectomy: This is a procedure in which the gums are cut to allow the tongue to extend beyond the teeth. It’s often done during orthodontic treatment as a way of improving speech.

Impression plaster: This procedure involves placing a plaster on the underside of the tongue. This helps to extend the tongue and can be done in the dentist’s clinic.

Laser frenectomy: This is a newer method that uses a laser to cut the frenulum. It’s usually done as an outpatient procedure and is less painful than a traditional frenectomy.

Potential Complications of Adult Tongue Tie Treatment

As with any surgery, there are always potential complications. For example, in rare cases, a patient may experience bleeding or infection. It’s important that they follow post-surgery instructions to ensure a smooth recovery. Fortunately, these complications are very rare.


Tongue tie, or ankyloglossia, is a condition that affects many infants. However, it can also affect adults, causing a variety of issues such as difficulty chewing, swallowing, and speaking. There are various treatment options available for tongue ties, and getting treatment can have a significant impact on one’s life. There are also very few complications associated with getting a treatment done. For those who have been struggling with the condition, getting tongue tie treatment can be life-changing.

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