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Tongue Tie Chiropractor

6 August, 2024


Tongue Tie Chiropractor

Tongue, Lip and Cheek (Buccal) Ties

Exactly as it sounds, a tie is when there's tension and a little bridge connecting the tongue, lip or cheek so that it doesn't move like it should. A tongue tie will be seen underneath the tongue so that the tongue doesn't lift up or out of the mouth. A lip tie will prevent the lips from spreading open over the breast / bottle. A cheek tie causes the cheeks to "stick" to the inside of the mouth.

Tongue tie occurs in about 8% of babies (Hill et al. 2021). It's more commonly seen with males.

Symptoms of Tongue, Cheek and Lip Ties

Baby Symptoms

  • Feeding issues: poor latch, suction or slow feeder
  • Clicking noise on feeding
  • Milk dribbling out during feeds
  • Colic / unsettled baby
  • Excessive drooling
  • Gassy baby
  • Lip blister
  • Mucous in stool
  • Reflux
  • Choke / not be able to keep up with milk flow
  • Sleeping with mouth open
  • Slow weight gain or weight loss
  • Stiffness or back arching
  • Torticollis (twisted neck) or flat head (plagiocephaly)
  • Uncomfortable in car seat
  • White tongue coating
  • Can't keep dummies in mouth
  • Heart shaped tongue

Breastfeeding Mother's Symptoms

  • Blocked ducts, engorgement or mastitis
  • Pain
  • Nipple damage and bleeding
  • Nipple thrush
  • Over-supply from ineffective and over-feeding
  • Under-supply from lack of milk removal (supply and demand)
  • Fatigue and frustration and wanting to finish breastfeeding early

Older Child / Adult's Symptoms

It's possible to get diagnosed with a ties as an adult. It's not just a baby problem!

  • Delayed or difficulties with speech
  • Dental problems (eg: tooth crowding)
  • Headaches
  • Ongoing neck tension
  • TMD (jaw pain, clicking, crunching, tension)
  • Sleep disorders (eg: snoring, apnoea) and energy
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Feeding issues (messy or fussy)
  • Mouth breathing (difficulty with nose breathing)
  • Tonsils or adenoids removed is common

Ties and Chiropractic

Chiropractors will work closely with lactation consultants and paediatric dentists to identify and manage tongue ties.

Not all ties require surgical release or laser, but some do. This is performed by a dentist. Sometimes the oral function improves with gentle chiropractic rather than requiring scissors or laser.

Not just a tongue issue

Ties are more than just a mouth issue! The tongue is connected via connective tissue (fascia) to the diaphragm (breathing muscle), spinal stabilisers (quadratus lumborium) and even down to the tiny feet muscles.

Source: Bordoni & Myers (2020)

Identifying a Tie

Chiropractors will feel inside the mouth and watch for movement of the tongue, lips and cheeks. They will look at the shape of the tongue, how much the tongue moves out of the mouth (forwards) and upwards (eg: while crying), does the lip and cheeks move away from the gum line easily, and looking at the rest of the body for tension.

It's not uncommon to see torticollis (head appearing stuck to one side) or a baby who favours looking in one direction with tongue, cheek and buccal ties. There may be tension further down the spine to the shoulders, pelvis and hips as well.

Preparing for Tongue Tie Surgery or Laser

In preparation for for a tie revision, we want to reduce the tension in the body and help create balance around the mouth, jaw, neck, cranium and body.

After Tie Revision or Laser

After having tie, lip or cheek ties cut or lasered, you'll be advised to perform stretches frequently (day and night). In addition to this, we want to reduce the tension around the mouth, jaw, head, neck and body which is where chiropractic steps in. The techniques used are gentle and babies will frequently sleep through it, however they may not like the mouth work being done, similar that they don't love doing their home stretches.


Appointments available in Moonee Ponds or online.


About the Author

Dr Cassie Atkinson-Quinton - Paediatric-Trained Chiropractor & Paediatric Sleep Coach

Dr Cassie is a paediatric-trained chiropractor, sleep coach and, most importantly, mumma to Master H. She loves seeing newborns grow into inquisitive toddlers and busy school kids. She assesses for neurological development (primitive reflexes), posture, sleep health and movement patterns. She's an eager learning just like the kids she sees.

"It's better to grow healthy children than fix injured adults."


Dr Rabiah Nuredini - Chiropractor

Rabiah is a talented & passionate Chiropractor. She's got a keen interest in living a healthy life and imparting that on those she sees. She has completed additional training in various fields including paediatrics, pregnancy and neurology.

Understanding that everyone requires a unique take, she incorporates a range of techniques as part of her sessions. This might include cupping, dry needling, adjustments, targeted massage, rehab and laser therapy.



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References:

  • Hill, R. R., Lee, C. S., & Pados, B. F. (2021). The prevalence of ankyloglossia in children aged <1 year: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Pediatric Research90(2), 259–266. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-020-01239-y 
  • Bordoni B, Myers T. A review of the theoretical fascial models: biotensegrity, fascintegrity, and myofascial chains. Cureus. 2020 Feb 24;12(2).