How is Tongue-Tie Diagnosed?
Breastfeeding requires a strong and coordinated tongue movement to remove milk from the breast. Infants with tongue-tie may have difficulty latching on to the nipple, leading to pain for the mother or poor milk transfer. This can ultimately cause malnutrition or dehydration in the baby. Listen for a clicking sound when your baby is breastfeeding, which may signify that they have a tongue-tie.
People who have tongue-tie may have difficulty making certain sounds, such as “t,” “d,” “z,” and “l,” and they may also have a lisp. This can interfere with normal speech development in older children.
Tongue-tie may also contribute to childhood apraxia of speech, which makes it hard to produce the motor movements necessary for clear speech.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Tongue-tie can make it difficult to move your tongue around your mouth, which may lead to poor oral hygiene. Gaps or misalignment in lower front teeth can also develop and cause an increase in cavities, gum disease, and periodontal problems.
Challenges with Oral Activities
In addition to speaking and maintaining good oral hygiene, people with tongue ties may have difficulty performing other oral activities, such as licking a stamp, kissing, or playing a wind instrument.
Most cases of tongue-tie are benign and don’t require treatment. However, more severe cases may require a simple procedure called a frenectomy.
There are generally 2 types of frenectomies:
A labial frenectomy removes tissue attached to the inside of the upper lip (upper labial frenum) and upper gums. This procedure is often done in children born with a cleft palate. It’s also done in adults who have gum recession and want to prevent further recession.It is also done in patients who have a gap between front teeth due to the pull of the labial frenum.
A lingual frenectomy or tongue-tie division, is a simple surgical procedure to remove tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This piece of tissue is commonly referred to as a frenulum or frenum.
A frenectomy is a quick procedure to increase tongue mobility. It can be done by an oral surgeon.
First, the surgeon will numb the area with a local topical anesthetic. Once the surgeon has ensured the patient is numb, they will use a scalpel or laser to cut the frenulum away from their tongue. In some cases, sutures may be used to close the wound. The entire procedure is usually over in less than 30 minutes.
You will likely experience some soreness and swelling after the procedure. These symptoms should resolve within a few days. We typically recommend that patients take over-the-counter pain medication to help with discomfort. You may also need to avoid strenuous activity for a day or two. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day.
It’s essential to keep the surgical site clean. Gently brush your teeth twice a day and floss as usual. You should also rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day to keep the area clean and help reduce swelling.
Your doctor will likely see you for a follow-up appointment a few days after the procedure. They will check to make sure the wound is healing correctly at this appointment.
Risks and Complications
Frenectomy is generally a safe procedure, but as with any surgery, there are some risks. These include:
- Anesthesia complications
Most people recover from frenectomy without any significant complications. However, if you experience any problems, contact our office right away.