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What is Tongue Tie?

A young girl sticking her tongue out

Tongue tie is a condition that affects many newborns, yet it remains widely misunderstood. You are either born with it, or you are not. This little issue has a significant impact on a baby’s ability to eat, communicate, and even breathe.

The good news is that the problem can be easily fixed with a simple procedure. Let’s take a look in detail at how tongue tie affects a baby growing up:

Understanding Tongue Tie

Also known as ankyloglossia, tongue tie is an oral problem that usually affects infants. It is identified by a short lingual frenulum (the skin strip beneath the tongue). It restricts the tongue’s range of motion as it connects the tongue closely to the mouth’s floor.  This impacts oral function and development and causes latching problems in breastfeeding in infants.

Cause

Tongue tie is present from birth and occurs due to a variety of reasons, including genetic factors.

Symptoms

  • Breastfeeding Challenges: Baby struggling to latch onto the breast properly. This can result in poor weight gain in the infant.
  • Oral Hygiene: Limited tongue mobility can make it challenging to maintain proper oral hygiene, which can lead to dental issues like cavities and gum problems.
  • Speech Difficulties: The restricted movement of the tongue can affect articulation and pronunciation of certain sounds, leading to speech impediments.
  • Digestive Issues: Proper tongue movement is essential for effective chewing and swallowing, and lack of it can lead to digestive problems.
  • Psychological Impact: Speech difficulties might lead to self-esteem issues or social challenges.

Treatment

Tongue tie can be treated through a relatively simple procedure called a frenotomy. During this procedure, the lingual frenulum is cut to release the tongue’s restricted movement. This is often performed without anesthesia in babies because they have fewer nerve endings, which minimizes pain.

The second procedure is called frenuloplasty. If the frenulum is too thick, the doctor performs surgery and uses stitches to close the incision.

Before going for any treatment, parents should consult their pediatric dentist to ensure that the procedure won’t have any impact on their baby’s teeth. Aftercare usually involves speech exercises to ensure proper tongue movement.

To find a dentist in Frederick, CO, visit the website Firestone Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. Book an appointment today with Dr. David Garlock to discuss treatment options for your kid’s tongue tie. For more information, call 303-848-3633.

Posted on Nov 27, 2023
Image Credit:

File ID 44244691 | © Petr Zamecnik | Dreamstime.com

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