Tongue tie (Ankyloglossia) refers to a condition present at birth which limits your child’s ability to move their tongue. Lingual Frenulum that connects the lower part of your tongue to the bottom part of your mouth becomes either too thick, short or unusual tight. Let’s look deeper to understand its diagnosis and treatment.
Tongue Tie Signs
Tongue tie can easily be overlooked, even by professionals. Here are signs to look out for to know if your new-born is affected:
- Your child takes long feeds and stops to catch a breath before feeding for long again
- Fussy while breastfeeding
- Slow weight gain
- Difficulties in latching on to the nipple
- Chewing, rather than sucking on the nipple
When Conducting a Physical Home Exam:
- Check for a V shape on the bottom side of your child’s mouth
- Check whether the tongue can move past the gums
- Check on movement from side to side as well as up and down
To Treat or Not to Treat?
Whenever there’s a problem, it’s natural to try and fix it. While some say it’s a condition that can correct itself, others believe that because there’s no way of predicting the outcome it’s safer to deal with it right away.
When at the doctor’s, you may be faced with two decisions depending on the thickness of the frenulum:
- A quick office procedure where the frenulum is sniped with sterile scissors and no anaesthetic or stitches will be. This is known as Frenotomy. Here your child can resume normal breastfeeding and little to no blood is experienced.
- When the frenulum is too thick for a quick snip, your child may need to be put under for the whole procedure, with minimal stitches. A laser surgery could be performed in such an instance. This is known as Frenuloplasty.
- Damage to the tongue or saliva glands
- Risk of infection due to the surgery
If Not Treated It Could Lead To:
- Speech difficulties
- Tooth decay
- Swollen/Irritated gums
- Lower gap on the lower front teeth
- Choking on food once solids are introduced
What to Expect While Breastfeeding Your Child
- Sore or swollen nipples
- Cracked/bloody nipples
It is important to take extra care of yourself during this time to ensure you are able to offer your child as much breast milk as they need.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last Reviewed January 2019