Tongue Tie is a medical condition caused by short frenum, which restricts the tongue movement. Tongue-tied babies can be breastfed or bottle-fed, but it is possible that the condition interferes with the babies ability to breast feed and/or bottle feed. The medical condition, known as ankyloglossia, is however, treatable.
Frenula are the little tissue strings found along the various parts of the mouth such as within the cheeks, near the back molars, under the top lip and underneath the tongue. They guide the growth of mouth structuring, while we are in the embryo stage. Once born, the frenula do not have much importance, even though they might have a role in the positioning of the baby teeth.
Treatment in Southwest Sydney
The frenulum under the tongue, lingual frenum, if short in size, would be responsible for a restricted tongue movement. A person with such a condition could have some difficulty in licking around their lips or raising the tongue tip inside their mouth. This might lead to difficulties in eating as well as in pronouncing certain letters.
Sometimes, the condition resolves in early childhood when the frenum loosens by itself. However, in certain cases, the treatment would be in the form of surgery. Frenectomy is the treatment process wherein a surgical procedure is carried out to release the tongue.
There are several symptoms of tongue-tie, which could include conditions like:
- the tongue cannot poke out beyond the lips
- the tongue tip cannot touch the roof of the mouth
- the tongue cannot be moved sideways to the corners of the mouth
- the tongue tip may look flat or square, instead of pointy when extended
- the tongue tip may look notched or heart-shaped
- A tongue-d baby may have difficulties breastfeeding or bottle-feeding
- The front teeth in the lower jaw might have a gap between them.
Causes of tongue-tie
The two major cause of tongue-tie are too short and tight frenum, or its failure to move back down the tongue during development. In the latter case, it is attached to the tongue tip. A heart-shaped tongue tip is one of the obvious symptoms of the second cause. It is unclear whether the condition is hereditary or not. The condition is difficult to diagnose in newborns without expert help.
Tongue-tie and speech problems
Toddlers do not exhibit tongue-tie as commonly as the babies do. It suggests that the frenum is capable of normalising itself as the child grows. However, if the Condition persists, the children with tongue-tie are unable to pronounce certain letters.
Treatment for Tongue Tie
The Dentist at Align Dentistry used to cut the frenum under the tongue routinely in the past. However, these days, they prefer to wait and see if it grows to normal size as the child grows.
This is the surgical procedure performed to cut the lingual or labial tissues. The technique invoves using a soft Tissue LASER to exice and reposition the frenum attachment. It does not involve any bleeding or stiches and healing is through the formation of granulation tissue. The child or individual can resume day to day activities immediately such as going back to school or work.
If you feel your child has a Tongue Tie problem please contact Align Dentistry on (02) 9723 5757 for an initial assessment.