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A Unique Test To See If You’re Tongue Tied?

Tongue Tie Q&A with Sarah Hornsby, RDH, Myofunctional Therapist on Facebook Live at 4pm MST December 12, 2017: Register Here

I have been studying the tongue ties and the associated anatomy for several years now. After having a frenectomy to release my tongue tie, I became aware of just how much the tongue can affect the rest of the body. One of the things I recalled after having my tongue tie release was how much tension had been taken off the front of my body.

Recently I was experimenting trying to understand tongue ties better. While standing, I arched my back as much as I could and I looked up trying to raise my chin as high as I could without moving my jaw. I noticed that I could not move my tongue nearly as well. It became difficult to stick my tongue out of my mouth. I had tried that a few times, but it wasn’t until I tried to swallow that I realized that I could not swallow in that position.

Since I had had a frenectomy, I was excited because I was thinking that this would be a way for people who are not tongue tied to understand what it is like to be tongue tied. I went to my wife, who is not tongue tied, and told her to try it thinking she would be unable to swallow. To my surprise, she arched her back, looked up lifting her chin as high as she could, and… she swallowed. Next, she gave me a funny look and said, “What? Is that supposed to be hard or something?”

Suddenly, I realized something else. This was not a way for people to know what it is like to be tongue tied. This is a way to test if you are tongue tied. This led me to some other realizations. One being that even though I have had a frenectomy procedure, two in fact, that I was still tongue tied. The other being that the way frenectomies are currently being performed are often not addressing the full tongue tie (I will explain this in more detail in another post).

So this self-test to see if you may have a tongue tie is to stand up, arch your back, look up bringing your chin up as high as you can without moving your jaw, and then try to swallow. If swallowing is easy, then you are not tongue tied. If you cannot swallow, there is a strong chance you could have a tongue tie. I will describe another method of diagnosis in another post. This is not a definitive test and I do recommend seeking out a professional such as an oromyofunctional therapist to confirm.

I have tested this out on small groups and have found it to be fairly consistent but I would love to hear feedback from others about this. Below is a video where I interview a patient that I have never met in person  after having had a frenectomy to talk about her experiences.

Tongue Tie Q&A with Sarah Hornsby, RDH, Myofunctional Therapist on Facebook Live at 4pm MST December 12, 2017: Register Here

Daniel Lopez, D.O.

Author Daniel Lopez, D.O.

Daniel Lopez, D.O. grew up with a lot of pain trying many things that did not help. Realizing that if he could not help himself, he would be unable to help others effectively, he dedicated himself to finding real answers. Since that time, Dr. Lopez has found a unique but powerful style where he has patients from around the country and the world that travel to see him for headaches, TMJ issues, eye issues, neck pain, back pain, and more. Daniel Lopez, D.O. is an osteopathic physician with Osteopathic Integrative Medicine. Prior to that he had a private practice in NYC for 6 years. He is the author of the Amazon best seller "Unwinding the Body and Decoding the Messages of Pain: An In-Depth Look into the World of Osteopathic Physicians and How They 'Magically' Use Their Hands for Healing." He lives in Aurora, CO with his wife and daughters.

More posts by Daniel Lopez, D.O.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Mari says:

    Hi, Thank you for writing this. I just wanted to dubble check, when you say arch you back, you mean in flextion? Forewardbending? I would love to se a picture or movie of how you did/do it. Peace and love, Mari (Chiropractor)

    • Hi Mari, thanks for your question. I’ll try to add more information in the future. When I say arch back, I mean backward bending even from the seated or standing position along with backward bending the neck as well as far as possible. I hope that helps for now. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Emma says:

    Hi, Thank you for these articles. I am exploring the possibility that, as an adult, I have a tongue tie. I think I will have it checked by a specialist because I have so many issues that it could change my life. I do have a question though (or maybe two!) 1. Did you notice any correction of facial asymmetry after having your frenectomy? 2. Do you think a leg length discrepancy could be the result of a tongue tie? I did also have perthes disease in my shorter leg as a child (Should there be any correlation there), so I’m unsure whether that might be causing or, if I do have a tongue tie, as least contributing to my voice issues, shoulder pain, tmj etc.

    I would be very interested to know your thoughts. Thank you!

    • Hi, sorry for the delayed response. I didn’t see it until just now. Hopefully it’s not too late by now. Here’s the best I can answer your questions. Yes, there is generally going to be some correction of facial asymmetry but it is usually not dramatic and felt more than visualized. There can definitely be a leg length discrepancy from a tongue tie. Tongue posture has a real-time effect on posture. I will be demonstrating this in the future on another post or course. I hope that helps and the information is not too late.

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