Tongue and Lip Tie
Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue’s range of motion.
With tongue-tie, an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth, so it may interfere with breast-feeding.
Someone who has tongue-tie might have difficulty sticking out his or her tongue. Tongue-tie can also affect the way a child eats, speaks and swallows.
Sometimes tongue-tie may not cause problems. Some cases may require a simple surgical procedure for correction.
Healing time is relatively quick – around 24 hours, although for older babies and toddlers it may be around 48 hours.
No special care is required. Please come back and see us immediately if you notice any bleeding.
Risks and Possible Complications
Tongue-tie can affect a baby’s oral development, as well as the way he or she eats, speaks and swallows.
For example, tongue-tie can lead to:
- Breast-feeding problems: Breast-feeding requires a baby to keep his or her tongue over the lower gum while sucking. If unable to move the tongue or keep it in the right position, the baby might chew instead of suck on the nipple. This can cause significant nipple pain and interfere with a baby’s ability to get breast milk. Ultimately, poor breast-feeding can lead to inadequate nutrition and failure to thrive.
- Speech difficulties: Tongue-tie can interfere with the ability to make certain sounds — such as “t,” “d,” “z,” “s,” “th,” “r” and “l.”
- Poor oral hygiene: For an older child or adult, tongue-tie can make it difficult to sweep food debris from the teeth. This can contribute to tooth decay and inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). Tongue-tie can also lead to the formation of a gap or space between the two bottom front teeth.
- Challenges with other oral activities: Tongue-tie can interfere with activities such as licking an ice cream cone, licking the lips, kissing or playing a wind instrument.