Richard Baxter, DMD, MS, DABLS; and Lauren Hughes, MS, CCC-SLP, just published a great new case report in the International Journal of Clinical Pediatrics titled: “Speech and Feeding Improvements in Children After Posterior Tongue-Tie Release: A Case Series”.
About Dr. Baxter
Dr. Baxter is a board-certified pediatric dentist, member of the American Laser Study Club member and a Diplomate of the American Board of Laser Surgery. He is passionate about educating parents and healthcare practitioners about the effects a tongue-tie can have throughout the lifespan. He lives in Birmingham, AL and is the founder and owner of the Alabama Tongue-Tie Center where he uses a LightScalpel CO2 laser to release oral restrictions that are causing nursing, speech, dental, sleep and feeding issues. He had a tongue-tie himself, and his twin girls were treated for tongue and lip-tie at birth, so for him, this field is a personal one.
Case Report Abstract
Ankyloglossia, commonly referred to as “tongue-tie,” has recently seen a surge in cases and awareness with a corresponding increase in diagnosis and treatment. The evidence linking tongue-tie release and breastfeeding improvement has been published previously. However, due to a lack of published evidence for children, many medical professionals still believe that a restricted tongue does not contribute to feeding or speech issues in older children. The condition of tongue-tie exists on a continuum with variable visibility and symptoms. Some restrictions, mainly anterior or “classic” tongue-tie, are highly visible and easier to detect. However, “posterior” or submucosal tongue-ties are often more challenging to diagnose. Recently, an increase in awareness and education has led to improved detection of these posterior tongue-ties. The data presented in these case studies will demonstrate that even posterior ties restrict movement and affect oral structures that are required for speech and feeding. In this case series, five patients with posterior tongue restrictions underwent CO2 laser frenectomy without any general anesthesia or sedation. After a quick in-office procedure, all five patients demonstrated increased lingual mobility evidenced by improved speech and feeding skills. Some improvements were observed immediately after the procedure by clinical staff and the child’s family. While these patients required continued intervention from a speech-language pathologist, their improved lingual mobility allowed for more significant and faster improvement in speech and feeding skills. These cases challenge the status quo that speech and feeding are not affected by posterior tongue-tie. Continued research is warranted to determine the impact that all classes of lingual restrictions can have on speech and feeding development.