Reviewed by Dr. Kerri Font, DDS

Lip and tongue ties are often associated with infants and young children, but they can also have an impact on adult oral health.  When left untreated, these conditions can lead to various issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and even sleep apnea.

In this blog, we will explore how these conditions can continue to affect individuals as they grow older, and the importance of seeking proper treatment for optimal oral function.

Table of Contents

Understanding Tongue and Lip Ties in Adults

Lip and tongue ties occur when the lingual frenulum (the band of tissue under the tongue) or the labial frenulum (the band of tissue connecting the upper lip to the gums) is too tight, thick, or short.

Though these conditions are identified and often treated in infancy, not all cases are caught or considered severe enough for intervention at a young age. This can lead to a range of complications for adults, including:

  • Limited range of motion: Adults with tongue ties may find it difficult to move their tongue freely. This can affect speaking, eating, and the ability to maintain proper oral hygiene.
  • Speech difficulties: A restricted tongue or lip can lead to speech difficulties. People with tongue ties may have trouble pronouncing certain sounds, such as “t,” “d,” and “l.”
  • Orthodontic issues: Tongue ties can also contribute to misalignment or gaps between the teeth, leading to potential orthodontic issues.
  • Oral health issues: A tight lingual or labial frenulum can contribute to mouth breathing, misaligned teeth, and an increased risk of cavities and tooth decay. The inability to properly clean the teeth and gums can exacerbate these issues.

Symptoms of Tongue and Lip Ties in Adults

Recognizing the signs of tongue and lip ties is the first step towards improving oral health and overall well-being.

Symptoms of tongue tie:

  • Difficulty sticking tongue out past the lower front teeth
  • Difficulty lifting tongue up to touch upper teeth
  • Tongue unable to touch the roof of the mouth or move side to side
  • Speech difficulties and trouble pronouncing certain sounds
  • Tongue looks heart shaped when you stick it out
  • Symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular disorder) such as neck pain and headaches

Symptoms of lip tie:

  • Difficulty lifting upper lip to expose teeth when smiling or brushing teeth
  • Limited range of motion in the upper lip, making it difficult to drink from a straw or play certain wind instruments
  • Uneven gum line or gaps between teeth (diastema)
  • Open mouth breathing or snoring
  • Gum tissue recession

When to Seek Treatment

It’s never too late to address a tongue or lip tie. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be time to talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options.

At Highlands Ranch Periodontics, we offer comprehensive evaluations for children and adults with tongue and lip ties. We will work with you to determine the best course of action for your individual needs, whether it be a frenectomy or other treatment options.

If you are searching for a ‘tongue tie specialist near me, we can help. Call (303) 683-1144 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form.

FAQs About Adult Tongue and Lip Ties

Is it worth removing a tongue tie as an adult?

Yes, removing a tongue or lip tie as an adult can improve oral function and overall quality of life. It may also help prevent potential complications such as tooth decay, speech difficulties, and orthodontic issues.

Can an adult be tongue-tied?

Yes, adults can be tongue-tied. In fact, many people go undiagnosed and untreated for tongue and lip ties until adulthood.

What happens if you don’t get a tongue tie fixed?

If left untreated, a tongue or lip tie may cause ongoing issues such as speech difficulties, difficulty with oral hygiene, and potential dental issues.

When should tongue tie be corrected?

Tongue and lip ties should be corrected as soon as possible, especially if they are causing significant issues with oral function or overall well-being. They can be corrected at any age if symptoms arise or impact daily life in any way.

Categories: Periodontics