RedwoodDental_Logo1
Menu

Tongue-Tie: All You Need To Know & What To Do About This Common Condition

Dentists are famous for asking questions while their patient has a mouth full. If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, you know how difficult it can be to speak clearly. While the result is often comedic, it also serves as an apt analogy for living with tongue-tie.

What is Tongue-Tie?

Many people have a string of tissue that connects the underside of their tongue to the floor of their mouth. Did you know that this piece of tissue has a name? It’s called the lingual frenum, and it forms while embryos are still developing in the womb to help guide tongue development.

Once a baby is born, the lingual frenum should have retreated from the front of the tongue to the back. But some aren’t so lucky. Tongue-tie occurs in those whose lingual frenum doesn’t retreat, thereby severely limiting the tongue’s mobility and consequently resulting in problems speaking, eating, and more.

Not all instances of tongue-tie are the same. Tongue-tie manifests in a variety of ways with a variety of symptoms. That little string of tissue influences feeding, speaking, breathing, sleeping, posture, and orofacial development. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that people with tongue-tie will have issues with all or any of these functions.

On the flip side, a person may present with the smallest restriction but be severely affected by it. As we like to say, Every mouth is different.

Common Tongue-Tie Symptoms

Parents might begin to notice their child exhibiting symptoms of tongue-tie early on in their development. The following are a few of the most common symptoms to look for:

  • Slow eating
  • Hiccups in the womb
  • Easily gagging
  • Colicy baby
  • Sleeping in strange positions
  • Stuttering
  • Crowding of teeth
  • Nail-biting
  • Reflux in infants
  • Bedwetting
  • Teeth grinding

If you notice these symptoms developing in your child, schedule a consultation with their doctor. A quick exam is all it takes to determine if a child is suffering from tongue-tie, and your doctor will be more than happy to discuss possible treatment options.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

How to Treat Tongue-Tie

The more signs and symptoms there are relating to tongue-ties, the more reason to explore a simple, 15-minute surgery called a lingual frenectomy.

What is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a very simple procedure, often taking no more than 15 minutes, and is performed in four easy steps.

  1. A local anesthetic is applied to numb the area being operated on.
  2. The tongue is lifted with a special instrument to put tension on the frenum.
  3. The frenum is quickly removed using either a scalpel, surgical scissors, or a cauterizing instrument.
  4. Depending on the severity of the tongue-tie, the doctor may apply a few stitches, so that the underside of the tongue heals quicker.

This procedure is virtually painless and is a safe and effective method to permanently treat tongue-tie in children. If you’re interested in this procedure, please contact us today to set up a consultation.