If your child is tongue-tied they have a condition known as ankyloglossia. This happens when the band of skin that attaches to the floor of the mouth, known as a frenum or frenulum, is too close to the tip of the tongue. This band of skin sometimes attaches too close to the gums behind the lower front teeth as well. When the frenum attaches too close to the tip of the tongue, the tongue is not able to move as freely.
Children may not be able to stick their tongue out further than their lips or can’t touch the roof of their mouth. When sticking out the tongue the tip may look heart-shaped rather than coming to a point due to the restricted movement.
So why does it matter of my child is tongue-tied?
Some children have trouble sucking and, therefore, the first problem is noticed when breastfeeding or nursing. Some children may have trouble with certain speech sounds, especially “l, r, t, d, n, sh, th, and z” sounds. Others may develop a lisp. Additionally, these children can have difficulty removing food stuck to their palate or sides of their mouth; they also may have more plaque and tartar build-up. A frenum that is attached too closely behind the bottom front teeth can cause gum recession.
What can be done if my child is tongue-tied?
Some children who have mild tongue-tie may be best treated by careful observation and consideration of speech therapy by a Certified Speech Pathologist. Others may benefit from a minor surgical procedure, called a frenectomy, which can be performed in the office. A frenectomy is done with a special laser that relocates the attachment of the frenum to a more favorable position that frees up the movement of the tongue.
Do you have questions about your child’s tongue-tie? Give Drs. Tracht and Briskie, specialists in pediatric dentistry, a call or schedule an appointment. See here for more information about what we do and how we can help your child.