Tongue-tie, also called ankyloglossia, is a condition present at birth in babies. It restricts the tongue’s range of motion. With the tongue-tie issue, the light and thick band of tissues tethers with the breastfeeding. Scientists believe that this is an inherited condition, and other than breastfeeding, your child can also have speech issues if not fixed.
Tongue-tie is sometimes not problematic at all, and in some cases, your baby might require a simple surgery for correction. Let’s learn about tongue-tie, its symptoms, and more.
So, what is Tongue-tie?
The lingual frenulum is a small strip or band of tissue joining one side of the underside of the tongue to another part on its top surface. The top surface part is attached to the bottom of the mouth. The band can be present on one or both sides of the tongue, and it stops the tongue from moving freely enough to cause speech problems.
Tongue-tie can result in many difficulties with feeding, eating and drinking, and speaking. It is an inherited condition; your child may have a frenulum that’s short, thick, and tight, or long, thin, and loose.
Causes of Tongue-tie
Tongue-tie is an inherited condition, and it is present at the birth time in the baby. The prolonged tongue-tie can result in a more severe tongue-ties of the child later in life, which in turn can cause speech problems.
Symptoms of Ankyloglossia
A child with a tongue tie may have a few or all of these symptoms:
The child may have a slow suck, or the breastfeeding may be very difficult or even painful.
Moderate drooling when eating/gagging when drinking.
Trouble sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth.
Difficulty lifting the tongue to the upper teeth or moving the tongue side to side.
Diagnosis for Tongue Tie
There are many methods and techniques to check if your baby has a tongue-tie. If your newborn has a tight or short lingual frenulum, they might have a reduced ability to breastfeed right away or at all. Your pediatrician may also perform the “swallow test”, which involves putting a pacifier in your baby’s mouth then helping them to swallow it.
The pediatrician may also use the video monitor to look at your child’s tongue and mouth during swallowing. If you think that your child might have a tongue tie, seek the advice of a professional so that they will help you get this corrected safely and in the right way.
Here are a few of the complications that your kid may feel if they have a tongue-tie issue:
Inability to Breastfeed
The baby may have difficulty latching on to the breast, because of which they may not be able to latch on at all. It can result in dehydration, hypoglycemia, and weight loss.
A baby with a tongue-tie may gag on feedings. This can be frustrating for your child and you as well.
Gobbles of drool often signal a tongue tie issue, and if no treatment is started immediately, it can cause problems later on when your child starts to speak.
Kids can also experience speech problems, especially if their tongue has a short frenulum, and then the child has therapy for this problem.
Some kids with a tongue-tie can face problems making certain sounds like: “t,” “d,” “z,” “s,” “th,” “r,” and “l.”
Poor oral hygiene
Tongue-tie can cause reduced ability to brush, floss, and maintain healthy teeth, increasing the risk of cavities. Moreover, poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
What is the treatment of tongue-tie?
Surgery might be an option if your child has speech problems due to tongue tie or has difficulty eating. If you cannot breastfeed and have tried other methods, immediate surgery is recommended.
A frenotomy is the surgical procedure used to release the tongue-tie, and it can be done at any time after birth as long as your child meets the medical criteria.
One of the most common methods to alter a tongue-tie is a laser. However, this method is not used in many hospitals and clinics as they believe no complications are associated with it.
When should I call my child’s healthcare provider?
If your baby has an issue with breastfeeding or is facing difficulty making different sounds, you should consult with your pediatrician right away. Contact Dr. Medhat Abu-Shaaban, pediatrician and tongue tie expert in Dubai, for a quick fix of a tongue-tie issue. Book an appointment online or call us at 044305926.