What is tongue tie?
Ankyloglossia (commonly known as “tongue-tie”) is a condition in which the frenulum– a cord of tissue beneath the tongue– is abnormally bound to the floor of the mouth in a way that restricts movement. Another similar condition can occur when the lip frenulum of a child is abnormally attached to the mouth.
Tongue/Lip tie is often first seen when a baby is born, and may impact a newborn’s ability to breastfeed, leading to slower weight gain and even failure to thrive. It can also impact the newborn’s nursing mother, who experiences a higher rate of nipple soreness and possible infection from an improper latch or other difficulties. Tongue/Lip tie can also be seen in older children whose frenulum fail to recede properly with development; it can impact speech, cause orthodontic problems and difficulty eating at critical times in a child’s development. It can also contribute to dental caries on the front top teeth. A soft tissue laser and form of anesthetic is used to correct the tongue or lip tie by dividing the abnormal frenulum to create normal movement for the tongue or lip.
The procedure is usually less than 5 minutes in length and most newborns are ready to nurse immediately afterward. Parents are given special instructions for follow-up care and exercising the lip and tongue to avoid re-attachment and strengthen the oral musculature.