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Tongue Tie

“Tongue tie”- Have you heard this term before? Did you know that it is prevalent in as much as 10% of the population? Are you the parent of a child recently diagnosed with tongue tie and need more information?

Let’s take a look at the definition, diagnosis, and treatment for this common condition.

What is tongue tie?

Ankyloglossia referred to as Tongue tie is an oral condition in which a frenulum (a small piece of connective tissue under your tongue) restricts tongue movement. It can have an effect on the way a baby nurses, affect the airway, speech and overall dental health.

Who diagnoses tongue tie?

It is usually first observed by a lactation consultant when there is a problem with a baby’s latch.

Tongue tie prevents an open mouth seal, and if there is no seal there is no suction.  When the tongue is not able to extend and elevate, the baby cannot latch on and remove milk. The baby will use its lips and gums to hold on to the nipple resulting in an unsuccessful latch. The signs of tongue tie include nipple pain and trauma for the mother, trouble staying latched, and a clicking sound when breastfeeding. Upon diagnosis, a lactation consultant will refer the mother and baby for evaluation and treatment to a dentist, pediatrician, or ENT.

How is tongue tie treated?

Using a laser, frenectomies are quick, simple, and painless. The baby can nurse immediately after the procedure. Following the laser procedure parents will do special stretching exercises at home in order for the tongue tie not to recur. 

What are other long term effects of tongue tie if left untreated?

- Kids can become picky eaters because they don’t tolerate certain textures of foods. This is due to their inability to move it around the mouth properly. 

- Dental caries in posterior teeth due to an inability to move the tongue back and clean the food off of the teeth.

- Problems with occlusion, as well as development of the mandibular arch. 

- Speech problems in the way a child pronounces certain letters and sounds.

- Airway concerns and sleep apnea 

Tongue tie is a common condition that can affect many different aspects of life, but fortunately it has a simple solution. At Family Smile Dental we have the latest laser technology to perform a quick and painless frenectomy. If you have any questions about tongue tie treatment, please contact our offices for a consultation.


Author
Anna Suler, DDS

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