Tongue Tied? My Visit with Oral Surgeon, Dr. Scott Siegel

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

Part of my expansion journey includes getting an evaluation for a potential "tongue tie."

We have all heard the phrase "tongue tied" but what exactly does this mean? The actual condition is known as ankyloglossia, "an embryological remnant of tissue in the midline between the under surface of the tongue and floor of the mouth that restricts normal tongue movement." Check out the pics below showing an anterior tongue tie.

This little piece of tissue that I circled can heavily impact one's growth and development of the jaws and speech. To get a diagnosis, you need to see a doctor who can evaluate for both anterior and posterior tongue tie, which is not easily detectable. Some common symptoms of tongue ties in adults are sleep disordered breathing, malocclusion or"crooked teeth," migraines, TMD, neck/shoulder pain.

The tongue forms the palate and the upper jaw, if it is "tied down" you will not get proper growth and development of the dental arches.

Look at the picture below:

On the left, this patient has a tongue tie resulting in underdeveloped dental arches that are narrow and V-shaped. The palate is high and vaulted leaving no "home" for the tongue to "live." Subsequently, the tongue falls back, blocking the airway, leading to the spectrum of sleep disordered breathing; mouth breathing, snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea.

On the right side, this patient did not have a tongue tie. The tongue was "free" to develop the palate properly, creating wide, U-shaped dental arches. The tongue's "home" is the palate. In fact, you can see an imprint of the tongue on the palate from the suction created. This is normal development and crucial for a healthy airway and proper growth and development.

Ideally, we want to identify tongue ties in early infancy to help prevent Sleep Disordered Breathing altogether.

Below is my palate: I am not an extreme case, but I have a narrow arch and vaulted palate. You can also see evidence of heavy forces on my molars from being "tipped in" causing colliding and damage of my teeth. Notice the broken/worn dental work. A side benefit of expansion is ensuring I keep the integrity of my teeth for a lifetime! I'll expand/align then restore.

Dr. Ben Miraglia, my airway dentist and VP of Clinical Affairs for Airway Health Solutions, recommended I see Dr. Scott Siegel. Dr. Siegel reviews my case in the YouTube Video below. He has offices in NYC and Huntington, NY. Here's what he shared with me:

"Patients are coming in with issues with either sleep disordered breathing that's been diagnosed, snoring, difficulty throughout the day, tiredness, or maybe some symptoms of ADHD that have been labeled throughout that time. We evaluate, confirm and go over risk vs benefit of the procedure itself."

He continues highlighting the importance of collaborative care. "It is important to work as a team. When we work with an Airway Dentist, working with an Oral Myofunctional Therapist, getting this team approach, the studies have been showing more positive outcomes that way."

Dr. Siegel recommended I keep expanding, work with a Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist and then do the tongue tie revision (frenectomy). Sounds like a plan. It is definitely a team approach!

For more information on tongue ties, I highly recommend "Tongue Tied" by Dr. Richard Baxter

Stay tuned for my next blog with Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist, Brittny Sciarra!