Purpose: To propose a classification of the different lingual frenulum and to relate them to speech disorders. Methods: We evaluated 1402 patients’ frenulum with an age range of 5 years 8 months to 62 years 10 months between 1978 and 2002. Pictures were taken of the altered frenulum. Measures of maximal mouth opening, with and without tongue suction, were taken with a sliding caliper. Speech samples were also taken. Frenulum were then classified as normal; short; with anterior insertion, and short with anterior insertion. Results: From the 1402 patients evaluated, 127 (9%) presented with an altered frenulum insertion. For this study we considered only those with short or with anterior insertion. For those who had an altered frenulum, 62 (48.81%) presented with speech disorders. The more frequent speech disorders were: omission and substitution of /r/; {R}, and consonant clusters with /r/, and of /s/ and /z/. Frontal and lateral lisps also occurred. The frenulum of 21 patients was classified as short and of these, 12 patients (57%) presented with speech disorders. Of the 106 patients with anterior insertion, 50 (47.2%) presented with a speech disorder. After statistical analyses the relation between altered frenulum and speech disorders was considered significant with p<0.001. Conclusion: The lingual frenulum was classified as normal, short and with anterior insertion. An altered frenulum may predispose the individual to exhibit an accompanying speech disorder.


Lingual frenulum, tongue physiology, speech disorders