Tongue-tie is a birth defect that occurs when the strip of skin (lingual frenulum) connecting a baby’s tongue to the floor of their mouth is shorter than usual. Typically, this strip of skin separates before birth, allowing the tongue free range of motion. With tongue-tie, the lingual frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue.
Tongue-tie is a very common condition that, if addressed quickly, will not hinder a child’s development. However, if left untreated, a tongue-tie can result in malnutrition, speech difficulty, poor oral hygiene, and less than ideal airway development.
Signs of tongue-tie include:
- Restriction of the tongue’s movement, making it harder to breastfeed
- Difficulty lifting the tongue up or moving it from side to side
- Difficulty sticking the tongue out
- The tongue looks notched or heart-shaped when stuck out
- Difficulty with R, S, T and Th sounds
- Painful nursing
- Excessive gagging or choking on food
Treatment of Tongue-Tie
The treatment of tongue-tie for infants is a simple surgical procedure called a frenotomy. Your child’s doctor examines the lingual frenulum and then uses sterile scissors or laser to snip the frenulum free. Stitches are usually not necessary. Since there are few nerve endings or blood vessels in the lingual frenulum, a local anesthetic maybe all that is required.
Tongue tie treatment for older kids is similar, but we offer a range of sedation options to help keep them comfortable and ease their understandable anxiety.
For infants and older kids, post operative exercises are required to ensure optimal healing. Without these exercises, the risk of re-attachment of the tongue-tie increases.
Laser Frenectomy Post Operative Care Videos