Recently updated on October 25th, 2022 at 11:44 am
Tongue-tie is a condition that affects up to 10% of infants. While this condition is treatable, parents need to understand the possible signs of tongue-tie, as well as the complications and treatment options available. We’ll go over all of that and more in this comprehensive tongue-tie guide.
What Is Tongue-Tie?
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Tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition that impacts the way your tongue moves. It restricts movement and makes it difficult to speak and eat.
The average healthy tongue has a lingual frenulum, which is a band of tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of your mouth. If you look in the mirror and lift up your tongue, you can see it. This membrane helps keep your tongue in place.
For those who have tongue-tie, this tissue band is shorter and thicker than it should be. This condition usually causes complications with eating and drinking.
Who Gets Tongue-Tie?
Tongue tie is a congenital condition, meaning it presents itself at birth. During the tongue development stages, around four weeks in, the frenulum grows and stays intact while the rest of the tongue develops in a way that makes it mobile.
Any development disruptions during this development stage may cause tongue growth complications, leading to tongue-tie or other tongue issues. Genetics may also play a part in tongue development disruption.
Tongue Tie Symptoms and Complications
Symptoms of tongue-tie are easy to spot, and the condition is often diagnosed soon after birth. Common symptoms include tongue movement difficulties and an oddly-shaped tongue tip. Tongue-tie negatively impacts the following habits:
- Oral Hygiene
These complications affect a child’s quality of life. If you have a child with tongue-tie who is having trouble talking or breastfeeding, it’s vital to get medical advice and a possible treatment plan.
How to Treat Tongue Tie
Tongue-tie is either treated immediately after birth or later. Doctors often wait a few months or years to see if the condition resolves on its own. In some cases, the lingual frenulum loosens over time.
Methods that loosen the lingual frenulum include speech therapy and tongue motion therapy. For cases that require immediate attention, there are two treatments available.
A Frenotomy involves a doctor cutting the lingual frenulum with scissors. This process is surprisingly painless, as there are few nerve endings in this membrane. A frenotomy is a quick and simple procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia or an overnight hospital stay.
A Frenuloplasty is another tongue-tie procedure for more complex cases. If the lingual frenulum is too thick to cut with scissors, a frenuloplasty loosens the lingual frenulum with more involved tissue removal. This procedure requires anesthesia but is relatively quick and easy to handle.
The Next Steps
Despite the complications, tongue-tie is thankfully easy to remedy. Parents of newborns who have this condition may rest assured knowing there are several treatment options available.
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