What is a Tongue-Tie?
Tongue-tie is a condition present at birth that causes limited range of motion of the tongue. The small piece of tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth (lingual frenulum) remains attached after birth, which results in limited movement of the tongue. If not corrected early, tongue-tie can lead to development issues in a child such as speech problems or the inability to breastfeed.
There are many simple and safe procedures used to correct tongue-tie in babies. It is important to keep an eye out for the following symptoms in order to avoid any significant speech or development problems down the road.
Tongue-Tie Causes and Symptoms
The cause of the lingual frenulum remaining attached after birth is unknown. However, some genetic factors have been linked to the cases of tongue-tie. Early treatment of this defect will reduce the risk of long-term complications. Here are a few of the symptoms to look out for.
- Your child has difficulty moving the tongue to the roof of the mouth, from side to side, or sticking the tongue out past the teeth. You may also notice that the tongue appears heart-shaped when stuck out.
Tongue-Tie Early Treatment
The severity of each case will determine if a medical procedure is needed for your child. The two most common surgical procedures used to correct the issue are a frenotomy or a frenuloplasty. A frenotomy is a simple surgery done without the use of anesthesia. At Bubble, our doctors will use the Fotona Laser to detach the attached lingual frenulum, which causes little to no discomfort or bleeding. The frenuloplasty is a more complex procedure used for thicker lingual frenulums. Although complications are still rare, this procedure includes anesthesia and a more extended healing period.
Complications if Left Untreated
The following are developmental issues that may arise in our child if you wait too long to have a tongue-tie procedure done:
- The inability to move the tongue may cause issues when breastfeeding your child. Without breastmilk, your baby will lack the proper nutrition they need during their young months.
- Tongue-tie can lead to speech impediments that can stick with a child into adulthood.
- The tongue can interfere with your baby’s oral hygiene. Tooth decay, gingivitis, and gaps in the teeth are common in tongue-tie patients.
Bubble Children’s Dentistry Can Help!
If you are noticing these symptoms in your toddler, it is best to speak with a professional. The pediatric dentists here at Bubble Children’s Dentistry are experts on treating tongue-tie in children using a painless laser. Please schedule an appointment for all tongue-tie questions or concerns. We are here to ensure your child is comfortable and healthy!