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Tongue Tie Treatment

With Dr Tristan Joss

Yes, you can get tongue tie treatment.

Having a tongue tie does not mean the tongue is twisted up or you cannot talk property.

A tongue tie or ankyloglossia in medical speak is when a piece of tissue under the tongue called the frenulum is shortened and restricts the movement of the tongue.

Everyone has a frenulum that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth, the difference with a tongue tie is the frenulum is short or tightened or closer to the tip of the tongue than it should be.

We can also have a lip tie when the piece of tissue attaching the lip to the gum (also called a frenulum) is shortened not allowing free movement of the lip.  

An oral restriction might be a better phrase because not all shortened frenulum’s tie the tongue to the floor of the mouth, some might stop the tongue moving either side or might stop us from poking our tongue out (how disappointing would it be not be able to stick your tongue out as a kid!)  

You should be able to lift at least the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, a severe tongue tie will hold all the way from the tip of the tongue 

A tongue tie diagnosis is usually picked up in a baby between a few days and weeks after birth, usually most notable during breast feeding.   

If you have a tongue that doesn’t work at full capacity then we start getting compensation from other muscles, and joints. Just like everywhere else in the body if something isn’t functioning as much as it should, another part will take up the slack. When this happens a whole range of symptoms may be experienced.   

Tongue tie symptoms during breastfeeding may include: 

  • Poor ability to latch or inability to stay latched 
  • Sliding off the nipple-falling asleep at the breast
  • Regular clicking during a feed  
  • poor weight gain 
  • maternal nipple pain or damage (mastitis, cracks, and bleeding) 
  • Compromised maternal milk supply
  • Dribbling milk at the breast of bottle 
  • Digestive issues such as increased gassiness or reflux-aerophagia (swallowing air during feeding) 
  • Poor control of the milk during swallowing (lack of coordination)
tongue tie | osteopathy | Tristan Joss

Symptoms in children or adults might include: 

  • A history of difficulty breastfeeding as an infant 
  • Speech challenges especially with the sounds: S – T – L – R – Ch – Sh – Th – F – Z 
  • Strong gag reflex 
  • Difficulty nose breathing 
  • Recurrent ear, nose, or throat infections 
  • History of bed wetting 
  • Extended pacifier/dummy use 
  • Thumb sucking, hair chewing or eyelash pulling 
  • Tiredness after speaking for extended periods 
  • History of decayed posterior teeth 
  • Frequent bad breath
  • Crowded teeth
  • Difficulty swallowing food or tablets 
  • Difficulty clearing mouth of food 
  • Slow eater
  • Sleep Apnoea 
  • Noisy breathing and/or snoring 
  • TMJ pain or jaw clicking 

Sometimes the tongue tie may loosen itself over time or it may need intervention.

Adults can have tongue ties as well where the frenulum has tightened or it wasn’t diagnosed. 


Treatment from a dentist for a tongue tie will usually include using a laser, surgical scalpel, or scissors to release the tie.

Ideally seeing an Osteopath 1-2 days before the procedure and then 1-2 days after the procedure is optimal.  

Our job is to work closely with the dentist and myofunctional therapists and provide treatment before and then following up after the tongue tie procedure.  

We have found that where tension, restrictions and limitation in these other structures are addressed alongside the frenulum release, the results of success are enhanced.

It has been our observation that patients who receive manual therapy from a suitably experienced or osteopath (who works with infants and knows the influence of lip/tongue ties, works with attachment areas of the tongue muscles), present with significantly greater mobility of the tongue, providing better access for surgery and greater potential for rapid improvement of function post-surgery.  

Body work may involve palpating various muscles or the soft bones of the face, head or neck to help with stabilisation of the soft tissue.

It can release the pressure and tension that results from the limited tongue and/or lip movement that occurs due to a tight frenulum. It may also have a flow on effect on the areas of the body that cranial nerves supply such as the Vagus nerve which affects intestinal movement as well as other organs. 

Tristan Joss | Osteopath | Balwyn North
Osteopath Dr Tristan Joss has completed a tongue tie institute foundation and advanced course.  His work with babies experiencing tongue tie issues adds another dimension to his whole-body approach to health.
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