Tongue tie is a condition that affects the movement of the tongue. It occurs when the frenulum, the small band of tissue that connects the bottom of your tongue to the floor of your mouth, is too short or tight. In some cases, tongue tie surgery may be recommended to correct the issue. As a parent, it's essential to understand the signs that your child may need tongue tie surgery.

Recognizing the Signs of Tongue Tie

Breastfeeding Challenges

Babies with tongue tie may have trouble latching on properly when breastfeeding, leading to poor milk transfer, nipple pain for the mother, and inadequate feeding for the baby. If you notice that your baby has difficulty staying latched during feeding or seems to be constantly hungry despite nursing frequently, it may be worth exploring the possibility of tongue tie.

Speech Difficulties

As children grow older, untreated tongue tie can impact their speech development. Children with ankyloglossia may struggle with pronouncing certain sounds correctly or experience speech impediments such as lisps or difficulty articulating words clearly. If your child has persistent speech issues that do not improve with age, it could be due to an underlying tongue tie.

Oral Hygiene Concerns

The limited mobility of the tongue caused by tongue tie can make it challenging for children to clean their mouths thoroughly. This can increase the risk of dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. If your child consistently struggles with oral hygiene despite proper brushing and flossing habits, it may be related to an undiagnosed tongue tie.

How a Dentist Can Help

Assessment and Diagnosis

If you suspect that your child may have tongue tie, consulting with a dentist experienced in treating this condition is crucial. A dentist can perform a thorough examination of your child's mouth and assess the lingual frenulum's length and flexibility. They will also consider your child's symptoms and medical history to determine if tongue tie surgery is necessary.

Tongue Tie Release Procedure

In cases where tongue tie surgery is recommended, a dentist can perform a simple procedure known as a frenotomy or frenuloplasty to release the tethered lingual frenulum. This quick and minimally invasive surgery involves cutting or lasering the frenulum to allow greater freedom of movement for the tongue.

Postoperative Care and Follow-Up

After tongue tie surgery, your child's dentist will provide instructions for postoperative care to promote healing and prevent complications. They will also schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your child's progress and ensure that they are adapting well to their improved tongue function.

Contact a provider like Tots N' Teens Pediatric Dental Specialist to learn more.