The term for tongue tie is “ankyloglossia.” In a healthy baby (and adult), a band of tissue connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This tissue is referred to as the lingual frenum. When the lingual frenum is too short, too thick or insufficient, it can reduce the tongue’s range of motion.
This condition will be present from birth and typically will not resolve on it’s own with time. A tongue tie can range from mild to severe. A mild tongue tie may not need to be corrected and can be present throughout life, whereas a moderate to severe tongue tie will most likely need to be treated.
A tongue tie will present challenges to babies with latching for breastfeeding and potential problems with speaking, chewing and swallowing later on. When a tongue tie is mild, it may not cause problems and can be left, but a moderate to severe tongue tie will require intervention. The procedure to relieve a tongue tie is simple and quick. Tongue ties are more common in boys than girls, and a genetic link may exist. Diagnosis of a tongue tie will usually be early on and may even be assessed in the hospital post-birth.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Tongue-Tie
Correcting a tongue tie is usually relatively straightforward. The tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is released, either with a laser or with a scalpel. The procedure is quick, and so is the healing time. Usually, no stitches are needed to close the wound. In rare cases, a more extensive procedure may be required under general anesthetic and need stitches for healing. For postoperative care, look out for bleeding, swelling and infection.
If you have any questions about tongue-ties or believe your child may have one and would like to have it assessed, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.