Why So Many Babies Are Experiencing Clipped Tongues?
Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a problem that is present at birth. It happens when the tissue that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth (lingual frenulum) is too short. This can limit the movement of the tongue.
What are signs and symptoms of Tongue-tie?
- Difficulty latching on or sucking from the breast
- Mother in significant pain while nursing
- A baby who constantly fusses at the breast
- Poor weight gain and failure to thrive in an infant
- V-shaped or heart-shaped notch at the tip of the tongue when it’s stuck out
- A toddler’s difficulty in licking a lollipop or ice cream cone, touching the roof of their mouth, moving their tongue from side to side, or sticking out their tongue past the upper gums
- Enunciation problems that continue after age 3, especially when articulating these sounds: t, d, l, r, n, th, s, and z
- Persistent dental problems, such as a gap between the front lower teeth and tooth decay or gingivitis (gum inflammation) because your child can’t get rid of food debris naturally with her tongue
- Difficulty chewing age-appropriate solid foods
- Gagging or choking on foods
- Persistent dribbling
How is it treated?
A simple surgical procedure called a frenectomy can be done with or without anesthesia.
Our expert dentist examines the lingual frenulum and then uses sterile scissors to snip the frenulum free. The procedure is quick and discomfort is minimal since there are few nerve endings or blood vessels in the lingual frenulum.
Complications of a frenectomy are rare — but could include bleeding or infection, or damage to the tongue or salivary glands.
Dr. Malisa at Westdale Dentistry in Hamilton, Ontario is currently a member of the International Affiliation of Tongue Tie Professionals.