PEDIATRIC TONGUE TIE PROCEDURE
WHAT DOES TONGUE TIE MEAN?
Ankyloglossia, commonly called ‘ tongue tie ’, is a birth condition that restricts the tongue’s mobility. This structural abnormality is when the lingual frenulum (the small band of tissue connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth) is too tight, too short, or too thick, and tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. ‘Webbing’ can also occur between one’s upper or lower lips and gums, as well as the cheeks and gums.
Tongue tie has an adverse effect on the baby’s oromuscular function and causes problems with speech and feeding. This restriction of the tongue’s reach means that an infant may not be able to properly latch when breastfeeding, which can cause physical pain or injury for the mother – such as cracking, distortion, blanching or bleeding from the nipple.
Toddlers with tongue tie may have trouble articulating their words or protruding their tongue due to tension from a short or tight frenulum, making it difficult to express themselves or comfortably consume certain foods.
TONGUE TIE DIAGNOSIS
For babies, symptoms of tongue tie can include:
- Reflux or colic.
- Inability to latch.
- Poor weight gain.
- Excessive drooling.
- Vomiting frequently.
- Swallowing of wind.
- Trouble bottlefeeding.
- Difficulty eating solids.
- Noisy sucking / clicking noise when breastfeeding.
- Gumming or chewing the nipple when breastfeeding.
- Sleep deprivation due to the need for frequent feedings.
- Choking on milk or popping off the breast to gasp for air.
- Showing an inverted upper / lower lip when on the breast.
Traditional diagnosis for tongue tie involves factors of misarticulation (of tongue tip sounds such as ‘t’, ‘d’, and ‘n’) and acute malnourishment. You can personally assess if your baby has tongue tie by making him stick out his tongue; the tongue should come out flat over the lip (without pointing downward). If your baby can only stick out his tongue when the mouth is closed, that can indicate a posterior tongue tie.
CORRECTING TONGUE TIE
Frenotomy is a quick & simple surgical procedure that releases the lingual frenulum so that it no longer attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Primarily preferred for babies younger than 1 year of age, the procedure is conducted without anesthesia or can be done with a local anesthetic. Dr. Young lifts the baby’s tongue and clips the lingual frenulum to release the tongue. Stitches are not usually necessary, and there are normally no complications and little bleeding or discomfort afterward.
In cases of tongue tie, there are typically four intervention options which include:
Snipping the frenum
Surgical revision of the frenum (after 6 months of age and with local anesthetic)
Revision of the frenum by laser (without a general anaesthetic)
Revision by electrocautery (with local anaesthetic)
These procedures have been performed with astounding success, and in most cases result in substantial improvement in latching and breastfeeding.
THE OFFICE OF PAUL YOUNG, M.D.
Our team specializes in diagnosing and treating children of varying ages with tongue ties in Buffalo, New York. Parents should consider surgery to correct their child’s tongue tie, as it helps restore ease of speech and self-esteem. We are committed to providing outstanding care and making a difference with early diagnosis and treatment of children with ankyloglossia.