By Hallie Bulkin, MA, CCC-SLP, CMT®, COM
When is an oral tie (lip, tongue, cheek) ready to release? If we are having difficulty, shouldn’t we just book an appointment with a release provider from the preferred providers Facebook list?
No! (see this blog post for more info on who we recommend as your first stop when suspecting oral ties!)
Once you’ve secured a professional (feeding therapist ages birth-4 or a Myofunctional therapist cognitive age 4 years – adult, refer to this blog post) to help prepare you or your child for a release, how long before you should expect a release?
That is a good question! Short answer?
all the time that it takes
I know, I know, you’re wanting the exact number of sessions, the amount of strain to your budget…but every patient is different, their needs are unique, and their individuality should be taken into account.
In order to gauge the amount of time needed prior to a release, we MUST consider not only structure but also the function of the muscles in order to time the release well. This involves consulting with a tongue tie professional who is well versed in ties, oral motor therapy and/or myo, and has a network of professionals they can refer to if needed.
Your provider will give you a general idea of the length of time needed prior to the release based on a thorough assessment of the orofacial muscles.
Preparation for a release can take 1 week – 4+ weeks or even months, depending on the severity. What I am really saying here is that it takes as much time as it takes, do not rush it! Rushing to a release could be detrimental.
Without adequate time to address FUNCTION of the orofacial muscles, we can end up with suboptimal outcomes after a frenectomy. An oral tie release is a use it or lose it situation.
If we release the tongue, lip, or other tissue but it’s not properly prepared to move in all the new directions that it now has the ability to move, it can lead to reattachment or at the very least the individual will not be able to use their muscles WELL! Meaning, every day tasks we ask of those muscles could end up becoming harder to perform than they were prior to the release.
Before we rush to release, let’s stop to address the big picture. Our goal? For every tongue/lip tie release client to have the best and most successful experience possible.