Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue’s range of motion.
With tongue-tie, an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) links the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. A person who has tongue-tie might have difficulty sticking out his or her tongue. Tongue-tie can also affect the way a child eats, speaks and swallows, as well as interfere with breast-feeding.
Sometimes tongue-tie may not cause problems. Some cases may require a simple surgical procedure for correction.
How might one detect tongue-tie?
- Difficulty lifting the tongue to the upper teeth or moving the tongue from side to side
- Trouble sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth
- A tongue that appears notched or heart shaped when stuck out
Why might one need intervention for tongue-tie?
- Tongue tie can lead to breast feeding problems for babies
- It can interfere with speech development such as t, d, z, s, th, I sounds
- Tongue tie can lead to poor oral hygiene as people cannot clean the teeth with the tongue
- Tongue tie can even lead to difficulty in playing a wind instrument.
- Tongue tie is more common in boys than girls
Surgical treatment of tongue-tie may be done for infants, children or adults if tongue-tie causes problems. A frenotomy is the small surgical procedure where the lingual frenulum is snipped with a sterile scissors. The procedure is quick and discomfort is minimal since there are few nerve endings or blood vessels in the lingual frenulum. Bleeding is only likely to be a few drops.
- Damage to the tongue or salivary glands
- Frenulum may reattach to the base of the tongue