"I am passionate about improving everyday life for people, starting with the ability to breathe, sleep, and to do these basic, unconscious things that have such a huge impact on our entire well-being and overall quality of life."
- Meggie Graham, DDS
As a General Dentist specializing in tongue tie diagnosis, therapy and release procedures at the Untethered Airway Health and Tongue-Tie Center, Meggie knows all too well how much of an impact that small frenulum can have.
Meggie was first exposed to troublesome tongue-tie issues with her nephew who had trouble nursing as a baby. Then as a toddler, he experienced early speech delays and was breathing exclusively through his mouth during the day. She says this is “what opened Pandora’s Box” and introduced her to the world of tongue tie.
“I missed the initial signs of tongue tie with my first baby, but once they were there, I couldn’t ‘unsee’ them. My doctors weren’t able to correctly identify the symptoms either. I saw a lactation consultant and a pediatrician, but they only prescribed me reflux meds and cream. That ended up treating some of the issues, but not the root problem — an oral restriction.
So when the same issues appeared again with my second child, I knew right away she was suffering from tongue tie.”
Recognizing how severe oral restriction issues can be — and the persistent issues they create, from infancy through child and adulthood — Meggie set out on a mission to help other families and patients dealing with tongue tie.
At the Untethered Tongue-Tie Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Meggie and her team provide full-service care to patients of all ages, from infants to teens and adults.
Dr. Graham is a firm believer in the importance of interdisciplinary care before, during and after a tongue tie release procedure, which is also our philosophy here at the health:latch circle.
For example, she requires myofunctional therapy before and after surgery, where the focus is on the tongue’s resting position, chewing and swallowing, and a continued emphasis on strengthening.
“We often use the analogy of having your arm tied to your side your whole life. When that tie is released, the arm won’t know how to move and function properly without therapy and re-education.”
Dr. Graham says there is a lot to learn about an individual based on their dental hygiene:
“When we’re kids, we are taught about the importance of proper dental hygiene through brushing and flossing. But prevention and oral health is so much more than that.
Over the years, I’ve worked with TONS of patients who practice good oral health habits, but they’re still having issues like occlusal disease or periodontal [gum] disease. These issues can cause misaligned bites, chewing problems with broken teeth, wear on the teeth, or crowded teeth with lots of cavities and fillings.
In a lot of patients, these issues are usually paired with difficulty in sleeping or breathing.
These are all signs that something else may be going on. I can find clues in the mouth, then look into the patient’s past and connect the dots between these issues and how they might be connected to an oral restriction like tongue tie.
Your body will do what it needs to survive and perform basic functions like sleeping. So if your airway is obstructed, this can cause teeth grinding and clenching, mouth breathing, or tossing and turning at night, which interrupts your sleep. If you have a hard time sleeping, it will show up dentally first.
And I see this repetition in patients over and over again. But the root cause is often being overlooked, and conversations about tongue tie are not being had in many doctor’s or dentist’s offices.
I’m not trying to create a problem that’s not there. I’m trying to uncover the root of the problem and help my patients enjoy a better quality of life that everyone deserves.
I firmly believe that commitment and attention to the most basic of human functions — nasal breathing and stable sleep — can prevent years of unnecessary medical interventions and frustrating struggles with sleeping, eating, facial formation, and much more."
“Trust your instincts. Tongue tie is often a misunderstood topic, and there is lots of conflicting information out there. But if you feel something is wrong, or told they’re going to grow out of it, trust your gut. So many things we suffer from are 'common,' and that creates a feeling of 'normalcy.' But that doesn’t make it healthy or right.”
Meggie is an Affiliate of The Breathe Institute and a liaison of the American Academy of Physiological Medicine & Dentistry (AAPMD).
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