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Conditions We Treat

Tongue Tie & Swallowing Disorders

Treatment options for Tongue Tie and Swallowing Disorders.

Doctor checking child throat with tongue tie & swallowing disorder

What is Ankyloglossia (Tongue Tie)?

Ankyloglossia, or tongue tie, is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue’s range of motion. With tongue tie, an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth, so it may interfere with breast-feeding. Someone who has tongue-tie might have difficulty sticking out his or her tongue. Tongue tie can also affect the way a child eats, speaks and swallows. Sometimes tongue tie may not cause problems, while other cases may require a simple surgical procedure for correction.
Infant baby on bed with tongue tie & swallowing disorder

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Tongue Tie?

The exact cause of tongue tie is unknown, although there are some theories. Some believe that it may be genetic, while others believe that it is caused by the way the baby develops in the womb. Whatever the cause, tongue tie can have a number of effects on an individual’s life.

The most common symptom of tongue tie is difficulty moving the tongue from side to side or lifting it to the upper teeth. This can make it difficult to speak properly or eat certain foods. Tongue tie can also cause the tongue to appear notched or heart-shaped when stuck out. If you or your child has any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with an ENT specialist. They will be able to diagnose tongue tie and recommend the best course of treatment. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition, but may include surgery to release the tongue, or speech therapy to help the individual learn how to speak correctly.

What are Swallowing Disorders?

Swallowing disorders, also called dysphagia, are characterized by difficulty swallowing. This can be due to a number of different factors, including structural problems with the mouth or throat, neurological conditions, and certain medical conditions. Swallowing disorders can make it difficult to eat and drink, and can even lead to choking.

What are the Types of Swallowing Disorders?

There are two main types of swallowing disorders: dysphagia and odynophagia.

Dysphagia refers to the sensation of food or fluid being regurgitated or stuck in the chest. It can also refer to any throat discoordination that leads to coughing or choking during swallowing. Dysphagia can be caused by a lack of coordination of the nerves or muscles, or by infections or tumors.

Odynophagia is pain in the throat or chest during swallowing. It can be caused by inflammation, infection, or injury to the throat or esophagus. Odynophagia can also be a symptom of more serious conditions such as cancer.

Swallowing disorders can be a serious problem because they can lead to malnutrition and dehydration. Swallowing disorders can also cause aspiration pneumonia, which is a type of lung infection that can be fatal.

What are the Symptoms & Causes of Swallowing Disorders?

Swallowing disorders (Dysphagia) are characterized by persistent problems with chewing and swallowing. The main symptoms of swallowing disorders include discomfort when swallowing, chest pain, and the feeling that food or liquid is getting stuck in the throat or chest. Additionally, you may experience drooling, heartburn, nausea, wheezing, coughing, regurgitation, sore throat, and a sour taste in the mouth.

There are many possible causes of dysphagia. Dysphagia can originate in the esophagus and include diffuse spasm, an improperly relaxed sphincter, weak esophageal muscles, a narrow esophagus or esophageal ring. Dysphagia can also be caused by the presence of foreign bodies, GERD, or hardening of the esophageal muscles. Treatment for dysphagia will vary depending on the underlying cause. In some cases, simple lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals or avoiding certain trigger foods may be enough to ease symptoms. More serious cases of dysphagia may require medication, therapy, or surgery.

What are the Treatment Options for Swallowing Disorders?

Treatment for swallowing disorders depends on the underlying cause and where the problem originates. Medication, surgery, and swallowing therapy are the most common types of treatments administered.

Medications such as antacids or muscle relaxants may alleviate dysphagia symptoms. A surgical procedure to stretch or dilate the esophagus when it is too narrow often helps resolve the issue. Swallowing therapy involving chewing and swallowing techniques can help stimulate the muscles and nerves responsible for swallowing. The most severe cases of dysphagia may require a liquid diet or a feeding tube. However, with proper treatment, many people with dysphagia are able to improve their condition and live relatively normal lives.

Medical team reviewing patient with tongue tie & swallowing disorder

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