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The sublingual frenulum allows free movement of the tongue over the mouth and correct pronunciation of specific sounds. However, sometimes the lingual frenulum is too short (expertly ankyloglossia), which can lead to to severe speech impediments. In such a situation, undercutting the frenulum should be considered. Check how to recognize a too short frenulum of the tongue, when to cut it and what exercises to do with the short frenulum.

Tongue frenulum , commonlysublingual frenulum,is a flexible skin fold that connects the lower surface of the tongue with the bottom of the mouth in the midline ( it is visible when the tip of the tongue is lifted towards the roof of the mouth). The sublingual frenulum of the correct length allows the tongue to freely reach every place of the mouth and correctly pronounce certain sounds. However, it sometimes happens thatthe sublingual frenulumistoo short , which is technically calledankyloglossia . This is a common anatomical defect that occurs at a frequency of 1: 2,000 births. It happens in family.

The sublingual (tongue) frenulum - how do you know if it is too short?

  • tongue movement within the mouth is limited;
  • when you try to lift the tongue up, the frenulum tightens and thickens;
  • tongue sticking out poorly (it does not point to the nose or chin without any problems, but turns to the right or left);
  • the tip of the tongue has a characteristic shape and resembles a heart (its tip is indented in the middle, not rounded);
  • sounds requiring the tongue to be raised (l, sz, ż, cz, dż and r) are mispronounced;

In such a situation, the decision to undercut the sublingual frenulum should be considered, which should be consulted with a speech therapist, as well as a surgeon, ENT or phoniatrist - specialists who will assess the correct structure and mobility of the tongue.

Sublingual (tongue) frenulum too short - effects

A too short sublingual frenulum perpetuates an abnormal sucking, chewing and swallowing pattern and causes numerousmalocclusionsandpronunciation . Interdental lisp (tongue sticking out between the teeth, especially during the articulation of sounds: s, z, c, dz) may occur.

A frenulum that is too short can also cause drooling, as a large amount of saliva accumulates under the tongue, which remains at the bottom of the mouth, which cannot be drained and sometimes flows out. In addition, it can contribute to lockjaw, as the child does not open his mouth wide enough while speaking and his speech is not clear.


Sublingual (tongue) frenulum - when to trim?

If the lingual frenulum is too short, you can perform exercises in vertical positioning of the tongue. Unfortunately, the exercises alone will not help to stretch the frenulum and usuallyphrenotomyis necessary, i.e.undercutting the lingual frenulum( especially if it is completely attached to the floor of the mouth). Some specialists clearly point out that speech therapy is ineffective without surgery and it is necessary.

Sublingual (tongue) frenulum - what is the procedure?

Undercutting the lingual frenulum may be performed by a dentist or ENT specialist. The procedure consists in cutting the membrane under the tongue, from which the frenulum is made. A cut frenulum usually heals without any problems. After the surgery, exercises are necessary to prevent the formation of adhesions and, most importantly, to teach you to raise your tongue. The operation itself will not make the tongue stand upright by itself.

Language exercises should be performed before and after the procedure.

This will be useful to you

Sublingual frenulum too short - example exercises

1. Touch your tongue to the corner of your mouth with your mouth wide open 2. Lick your lips with your mouth wide open. To make this exercise easier for your child, you can brush his lips with something sweet, such as chocolate, jam or honey. 3. Try to touch the base of each tooth with your tongue with your mouth wide open. 4. Wag your tongue from side to side like a dog's tail; 5. Mimic a cat drinking milk (stick your tongue out of its mouth far forward, then point it upwards, then hide it) 6. Lick a plate or bowl (e.g. after pudding, jam). Licking ice cream or using your tongue to mimic this movement is also a good exercise. 7. Try to imitate the sounds of a horse's hoof (tongue clapping / clapping) 8. Try to reach your nose and chin with your tongue.

These are examples of exercises that can be performed both before and after the lingual frenulum cut. An appropriate set of exercises should be prepared by a speech therapist.

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