Functional Improvements of Speech, Feeding, and Sleep After Lingual Frenectomy Tongue-Tie Release: A Prospective Cohort Study

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2020 Sep;59(9-10):885-892. doi: 10.1177/0009922820928055. Epub 2020 May 28.


Recent studies suggest that speech, solid feeding, and sleep difficulties may be linked to restricted tongue function. Children with tongue restrictions and speech, feeding, and sleep issues underwent lingual frenectomies with a CO2 laser, paired with myofunctional exercises. Questionnaires were completed before, 1 week after, and 1 month following treatment. Thirty-seven patients participated in the study (mean age 4.2 years [range 13 months to 12 years]). Overall, speech improved in 89%, solid feeding improved in 83%, and sleep improved in 83% of patients as reported by parents. Fifty percent (8/16) of speech-delayed children said new words after the procedure (P = .008), 76% (16/21) of slow eaters ate more rapidly (P < .001), and 72% (23/32) of restless sleepers slept less restlessly (P < .001). After tongue-tie releases paired with exercises, most children experience functional improvements in speech, feeding, and sleep. Providers should screen for oral restrictions in children and refer for treatment when functions are impaired.

Keywords: ankyloglossia; feeding; frenectomy; frenotomy; sleep-disordered breathing; speech; tongue-tie.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Ankyloglossia / complications
  • Ankyloglossia / rehabilitation
  • Ankyloglossia / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders of Childhood / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders of Childhood / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lingual Frenum / surgery*
  • Male
  • Myofunctional Therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Speech Disorders / diagnosis
  • Speech Disorders / etiology*
  • Treatment Outcome