The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of tongue-tie division (frenuloplasty/ frenulotomy) for speech articulation disorder in children with ankyloglossia (tongue-tie).
Articulation test was done in five children (3-8 years old) with speech problems who underwent tongue-tie division. The test consisted of 50 pictures of common Japanese words with 2-3 syllables. The patients were interviewed by a speech therapist and asked to pronounce what the picture card showed. Misarticulations of substitution, omission, and distortion were assessed. The preoperative results were compared with postoperative examinations at 1 month, 3-4 months, and 1-2 years.
Nineteen substitutions that were observed in four patients preoperatively decreased to 10 in three patients at 1 month, 7 in three patients at 3-4 months, and 1 in one patient at 1-2 years postoperatively. Five omissions that were observed in four patients preoperatively decreased to 3 in three patients at 1 month, 2 in two patients at 3-4 months, and 1 in one patient at 1-2 years postoperatively. Thirteen distortions that were observed in five patients preoperatively decreased to 8 in four patients at 3-4 months but increased to 11 in three patients at 1-2 years postoperatively.
Substitution and omission improved relatively early after tongue-tie division and progressed to distortion, which is a less-impaired form of articulation disorder. Thus, distortion required more time for improvement and remained a defective speaking habit in some patients.