Tongue TieAn Overview
Tongue tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition that children are born with where the frenulum is too tight causing a restriction in the movement of the tongue or lips. Tongue tie is easily treated with the use of dental laser technology.
What is a frenulum?
A frenulum (lingual frenulum) is the piece of soft tissue that connects the tongue to the base of the mouth. The lower and upper lips also have a frenulum that keeps the lips attached to their respective jaw.
What is Tongue-Tie?
When baby is tongue tied, the frenulum is unusually tight, thick or short. When this thick band of tissues tethers the tongue unusually close to the floor of the mouth, it can lead to many issues with eating, swallowing and speech. Sometimes there may be no obvious signs that a baby’s tongue is tied. Usually the baby will show at least one of the symptoms of tongue tie which include:
- Difficulty moving tongue (to the sides or up and down)
- Unable to stick out tongue passed bottom teeth
- If the tongue appears heart shaped or notched when stuck out
- Issues with breastfeeding
Many children grow up being tongue tied and have no ill-effects from it. For older children, signs they might be tongue tied include if they complain that they are having issues eating, speaking or reaching their back teeth with their tongue. Also, their dentist or school speech pathologist may notice the issues with the frenulum and recommend the parents seek treatment.
Risk Factors and Complications
No one is really sure what causes tongue tie although it sometimes runs in families. It is most often seen in boys than in girls. No matter what the cause is, it is important to treat it. This condition has been known to cause many issues as a child grows. From the beginning, a baby that is tongue tied will have issues latching on and breast feeding. This can cause problems with the baby gaining weight and getting enough nutrition. As a child gets older, they may have issues making certain letter sounds that will affect their speech. Poor speech development will lead to years of therapy to correct the issues with articulation. Another obvious sign for children is poor oral hygiene. They may simply not be able to properly clean their teeth