Marge Foran, RDH, COM

Certified Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist

(406) 431-3441


What are the causes of orofacial myofunctional disorders… (the following situations may affect the function or patterns of movement of the muscles of the tongue, lips, jaw and face but do not necessarily indicate a problem)

  • Habitual habits such as prolonged thumb/ finger sucking, including pacifiers and sippy cups • Restricted nasal airway (enlarged tonsils/adenoids, allergies, asthma, sinusitis) • Structural or physiological abnormalities such as short lingual frenum (tongue-tie) • Neurological and developmental abnormalities, such as Down’s syndrome or Cerebral palsy • Low muscle tone of the tongue and facial muscles • High narrow arched palate (roof of the mouth) • Hereditary predispositions to the above situations

Tongue Tie or TOTS (tethered oral tissues) or Ankyloglossia

So what is this……The tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth with a membranous tissue.  Sometimes it is short and the tongue may be restricted.  A tongue-tie may be noticed at birth if the newborn has difficulties with breastfeeding.   This is a genetic trait passed down from the parent to the child.  If the tongue is not able to move freely there is a potential for orofacial myofunctional disorders.  Below is a week old infant with a tongue-tie whose father also was born with a tongue-tie.  This baby did have difficulties with breastfeeding and required a quick and easy procedure to “release” the tongue-tie.

photo 3 (2)

Smile 3

If a tongue-tie is not addressed early in life the following issues may develop:

Delays or lack of success in speech therapy, swallowing patterns may be affected, low tongue posture, difficulty with bolus formation, narrow, vaulted palate, ineffective oral cleansing, airway integrity and apnea, difficulty wearing dentures, difficulty playing some wind instruments

During the evaluation I will assess the movement of the tongue and the ability of the tongue to stretch and touch the roof of the mouth.  If it is restricted a small surgical procedure may be needed called a frenectomy.  I will coordinate the necessary exercises with your dentist or oral surgeon. It is important that a patient perform the necessary exercises and stretching before and after the procedure.  The muscles need to be re-educated for proper movement.

Helpful Resources for more information regarding the subject of tongue tie:

* Larry Kotlow, DDS

Bobby Ghaheri, MD

Correcting the consequences of tongue & lip tie using laser surgery at any age… With Karen Wuertz, DDS

*A blog about tongue tie….click on the link below
 Tethered Oral Tissue: What Is That?

*Click this link to read the story of a woman’s 12 year search for migraine relief
2015 BSSCMD M. Fetzik Tongue Tie

*The website has helpful information on the subject of  tongue tie

*Research about Short Lingual Frenulum and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children
Conclusion of this research: Short lingual frenulum may lead to abnormal orofacial
growth early in life, a risk factor for development of SDB. Careful surveillance for abnormal breathing during sleep should occur in the presence of short lingual frenulum.






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