Tongue-tie occurs when the lingual frenulum, the skin strip connecting the baby’s tongue to the mouth’s floor, is unusually short. In most cases, this skin detaches before birth, ensuring the tongue’s mobility. However, in tongue-tie, it remains attached, limiting movement.
While common and easily treatable, if overlooked, tongue-tie may lead to issues like malnourishment, speech challenges, and compromised oral hygiene.
Indicators of Tongue-Tie:
- Limited tongue movement, causing breastfeeding challenges.
- Difficulty in raising the tongue or moving it side-to-side.
- Inability to protrude the tongue fully.
- A notched or heart-like appearance when the tongue is extended.
For infants, the primary treatment is a straightforward procedure known as a frenotomy. Here, the doctor assesses the lingual frenulum and uses sterile tools to sever it. Typically, there’s minimal pain or bleeding, so only a local anesthetic is needed, and stitches are seldom required.
For older children and adults, the frenotomy process remains similar, but general anesthesia might be used, and stitching may be necessary. Post-procedure speech therapy could be beneficial.