What is Tongue-Tie?
Tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition which restricts the tongue’s range of motion.
It occurs when the frenulum, which is the band of tissue between the floor of your mouth and the bottom of your tongue, is too short, thick, or tight. The frenulum is important because it prevents you from swallowing your tongue. However, when it is too short, thick, or tight, it can cause issues.
A potential consequence of tongue-tie is that it can cause issues with breastfeeding. In order to breastfeed, a baby must be able to keep the tongue over the lower gum. If he or she isn’t able to do so, they’ll chew the nipple rather than sucking it. This can be discomforting for the mother and detrimental to the baby’s nutrition.
Other complications are poor hygiene (a tighter frenulum may make it difficult for one to brush properly, contributing to gingivitis and tooth decay) and difficulty with speech (especially with these letters and sounds: “a,” “d,” “z,” “t,” “i,” “r,” and “th”). It can also create gaps in the front bottom teeth and hinder activities like playing a wind instrument, licking one’s lips, or kissing.
Tongue-tie has been known to persist without causing any problems, or even fix itself over time. In more severe cases, a frenectomy may be required. Since there are few blood vessels or nerve endings in the frenulum, a frenectomy is relatively quick and discomfort is minor. After the procedure, a baby will be capable of breastfeeding immediately.
Be sure to contact Dr. Hodges today if your baby is experiencing:
• Issues with speech
• Issues with breastfeeding
• Issues eating
• Restriction, pain, or discomfort in the tongue area
• Difficulty pushing the tongue out past the lower front teeth
• Issues moving the tongue side-to-side
• Trouble lifting the tongue up to the upper teeth