Tongue-tie in babies

Tongue-tie in babies

 

Tongue tie is known as ankyloglossia inferior. It is a common congenital abnormality of lingual frenulum. It is the small stretch of tissue that connects underside of tongue to the bottom mouth.  Some babies are born with this abnormality, that restricts the motion of tongue. The full range of motions of toghue is required to make different sounds during speaking. It also helps in swallowing and sweeping away bits of food to keep mouth clean.

Symptoms of tongue-tie:

These are some symptoms of tongue-tie which can be noticed.

. Trouble latching on to the mother breast

  • Feed for long time and have a break while feed
  • Space between front and lower teeth
  • Trouble latching on to the mother breast
  • Making a clicking sound while feeding
  • Slow weight gain 
  • Fussy when trying to feed 
  • Biting or teeth grinding
  • Decreasing mother milk supply
  • Inflammation of the breast
  • Can’t move far from side to side
  • Vomiting after feeds

Causes of tongue-tie: The causes of tongue-tie are unknown. Usually lingual frenulum separates from the tongue before baby is born. It may run in families so there may be a genetic component. Tongue-tie is more common in boys than girls. 

How is diagnosed: Tongue tie is diagnosed during physical examination. Doctor does physical examination of child mouth and asks about symptoms. Doctor may check the shape and movements of tongue.

 

Feeding: The main complication of tongue-tie is difficulty in breastfeeding. Child   may have difficulty to getting strong latch on mother breasts. Even bottle feeding can be difficult.

Speech problems:  Most children with tongue-tie have no speech problems but some may have difficulty to make some sounds clearly.

Treatment: Treatment is not necessary if baby has tongue-tie but can feed without any problems. If treatment is required, a doctor can perform surgical procedures include frenotomy or frenuloplasty.

Frenotomy: A simple surgical procedure called frenotomy. It can be done with or without anesthesia in young babies those are under 6 months age. In this procedure using a surgical knife or a sterilized scissor, the tongue tie is released by clipping the tissue under the tongue. This is a simple procedure and presents small risk.

Frenuloplasty: This procedure can be carried outin  older children. Frenuloplasty is done under anesthesia with surgical tools to cut the frenulum. After frenulum is released, the wound is usually closed with stitches to absorb wound heals.

Both procedures are safe?  Both procedures are usually safe but possible complications are rare, such as

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring is possible
  • Damage to the tongue or salivary glands

When to see a doctor:

See your doctor if your baby has pain while breastfeeding and not gaining weight. Older child complains of difficulty moving his tongue, eating, swallowing and speaking.