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STOP asking the internet: "Is this a tongue tie?"

Updated: Jul 29, 2022

Why you should stop posting photos of your kid's mouth to Facebook groups asking "Is this a tie?" and what questions you should be asking instead!

Parents, I get it! I do, because I have been there and I have wondered the same things: Why does this hurt? Is this normal? How do I know whether there's a problem? Are these ties? But, there are several issues with asking the internet these questions. Let's unpack it.

I see it all the time. A parent posts on the Facebook support group page, "Does this look like a tie?" accompanied by a photo such as mine below:

First of all, most of the folks in the Facebook support groups are parents, just like you and me. They are not qualified to visually ascertain whether the tissues pictured are restricted or not. As experienced parents, sometimes of multiple tied kids, we may know what we are looking at. And, of course there are sometimes very conspicuous types of ties. But regardless of how sure we are that there may be a restrictive frenum in the photo, it isn’t our job as fellow parents to confirm (or deny) a tie based on a photo.

But let's say someone in the group happens to be a provider, someone trained to determine whether something is or isn't a tie? Even still, and possibly more so, they would want to reserve their professional opinion for an individual assessment. A provider weighing in on whether or not a person has oral ties on the basis of a photo could have potential detrimental effects, unless said provider is going to follow that up with a personalized assessment of the subject. Providing medical advice based solely on a photo, a moment in time, versus a thorough, functional evaluation of oral structure, function, as well as an assessment of the entire situation, including medical history and conditions, social situation, and more, could be a detriment to the provider and the family.

So, if the question, "Is this a tie?" is not the best question to be asking the internet, what are better questions to ask?