My baby has a what… Tongue Tie?

Does my baby have a tongue tie?

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“Is it a Tongue Tie?”

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Does my baby have a tongue tie?

A tongue tie or ankyloglossia is when the fleshy ties called “lingual frenulum” holds the tongue tightly to the bottom of the mouth not permitting the tongue to move freely. A tongue tie limits movement of the tongue and a baby’s jaw bones and if left untreated will cause more serious dental issues in your baby’s dental health.

How to know if my child has a tongue tie?

There are some simple symptoms showing that your baby or child might be suffering from a tongue tie.

In older children:

  1. A lisp or faulty pronunciation of some letters
  2. Malaligned jaws
  3. Preference to soft food only

In Babies:

  1. The baby might have difficulties during breast feeding
  2. The baby is unable to gain weight.
  3. Baby will choke trying to cope with fast mil flow
  4. If the baby can’t turn her upper lip out

Symptoms in the feeding mother:

  1. If the mother feels pain in her breast during feeds
  2. The mother might face low milk production
  3. Oversupply of milk
  4. Feeling tiredness, frustrated and discouraged
  5. Feeling the need to stop breastfeeding

For more elaboration on the symptoms, you can download the Tongue tie PDF file by providing your email address in above section.

Read a great blog on the effect of a tongue tie on your child. 

Make sure you bring your baby for a checkup at an early age if you see any of these symptoms as it can affect your baby’s oral development and the way he or she eats, speaks and swallows later in life.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) encourages parents to bring the child to a pediatric dentist with the first tooth or after the first birthday party celebration.

A good pediatric dentist will look at the tongue and the lip to diagnose any hidden tongue tie (like the posterior tongue tie) amongst other things. Catching this condition early before the child gets teeth is easier for the baby and for you as a mother. As treating it early makes such a big difference in terms of healing.

Lip Ties

Lipe tie is when the piece of tissue behind child’s upper lip called the frenulum is too thick or too stiff, and it can keep the upper lip from moving freely. In most new-borns, the frenulum and the gums are attached in some way but it usually gets corrected when the baby grows.

The treatment for lip tie and tongue ties are very similar.

What can a tongue tie or lip tie lead to?

  1. Breastfeeding Problems: During breast feeding the baby need to keep his or her tongue over the lower gum when sucking the breast. If the baby is unable to move the tongue in the right direction, the baby might chew instead of sucking the nipples. This will cause severe pain for the mother and also the baby won’t be able to get enough milk.
  2. Speech Difficulties: Having tongue tie might lead to pronunciation difficulties of certain sounds such as: “t,” “d,” “z,” “s,” “th,” “r” and “l” when the child is older and starts to go to school.
  3. Improper Jaw/Facial Growth
  4. Sleep Disorders: Tongue-ties or low tongue resting postures can often lead to mouth breathing and mouth breathing prevents the brain from experiencing the deepest level of sleep.
  5. Gap between in the front teeth can also be caused by a lip tie.
  6. Slowed Orthodontic Treatment and Orthodontic Relapse later in life.
  7. Problems with Oral Hygiene: In adults or older child, tongue tie could make it hard to sweep food from the teeth and eventually result in having tooth decay.
  8. Suboptimal Digestion as the tongue is a great muscle to turn food around in the mouth.
  9. If a child has lip ties, it makes brushing the front teeth painful and parents will have to fight with the child every time. This also leads to tooth decay in dental cavities or even rotten teeth in kids. This is a special form of dental decay in babies that is called baby tooth decay.

When to take your child for a treatment

In treatment of tongue tie, timing is everything. The moment you see any of the tongue tie related symptoms, please drop by for a visit and have us take a look at your child.

To know more, please download Tongue tie PDF from the section above by providing your email address.

Who can treat a tongue tie or ankyloglossia?

Treatment of tongue tie is a delicate matter and the technique has much improved over the recent years. It is very important to seek a pediatric dentist who has a lot of experience.

How is a tongue tie surgery done?

Nowadays there are state of art procedures using radiofrequency devices where the tongue-tie is snipped with no pain or bleeding for the baby or child leaving a white healing halo after the release. There is also laser assisted tongue tie operation, however, with the laser the tissues are blackened and burnt. I prefer radiofrequency assisted tongue tie procedures as it induces healing post-surgery faster than either laser assisted release or a surgical release with the scissors.

Whichever option you go for, my recommendation is to avoid the surgical release with scissors as this mode has the most rate of reattachments. Some research shows reattachment after tongue tie surgery with scissors is up to 80%! An insane failure rate!
After a radiofrequency assisted procedure, the child recovers very quickly and your dentist for kids will advise you on the steps to be followed after the procedure such as stretching, how to keep the area clean and healing.

Read a great blog on tongue tie pre & post-operative instructions

What do I need to know before, during and after Tongue ties surgery?

Pre-tongue tie surgery instructions:
Feeding:
Make sure your child is fasting, we will advise you on how long the child should be fasting according to their age. Minimum 3 to 4 hours will be required.

Pain medication:
Your child must be on painkillers before the surgery. Keep your child on painkillers until your paediatric dentist informs you to stop. It helps the child to not experience pain during the surgery.

During the surgery:

Blanket:
Bring a blanket your child loves with you along with their favourite toy and anything else that would make your child as comfortable as possible.

Nose Drops:
Put Saline nose drops 6 drops in each.

After the surgery:
Stretching and massaging exercise: Our main aim is to speed up the healing process of the lip or the tongue, so stretching and massaging are truly crucial after the surgery.

Gently Stretch and massage your child’s lip (if it is a lip tie surgery) or tongue (if it was a tongue tie surgery) regularly. The gap between massages shouldn’t be more than 6 hours.

Feeding:
After the procedure, you may breastfeed or bottle feed your baby or sooth your child in any manner you like.

Medication:
Apply a non-numbing teething gel like Gengigel or Dentinox under the tongue or under the upper lip as needed.

Book your appointment today

At mypediaclinic, one of our main area of expertise is tongue tie and lip tie treatments.

To check if your child is suffering from a tongue tie, book your appointment today for a check-up 🙂


If your kids are scared from the dentist, bring them to see me 🙂
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