Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia)

Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia)

Overview

Tongue-tie is a condition, which is present from birth and restricts the tongue’s range of motion. With tongue-tie, a short, thick, or tight band of tissue tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. This may interfere with breast feeding. Someone who is suffering from tongue-tie might face difficulty in sticking out his or her tongue. Tongue-tie can also affect the way a child eats, speaks, and swallows. Sometimes, tongue-tie may not create problems says the dentist near Utah.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty lifting the tongue to the upper teeth or moving the tongue from side to side.
  • Trouble sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth.
  • A tongue that appears notched or heart shaped when stuck out.

When to See a Doctor

  • Your baby has signs of tongue-tie that cause problems, such as breastfeeding.
  • A speech- language pathologist thinks your child’s speech is affected by tongue-tie.
  • Your older child complains of tongue problems that interfere with eating, speaking, or reaching the back teeth.

Causes

Usually, the lingual frenulum separates before birth, which allows the tongue a free range of motion. However, with tongue-tie, the lingual frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue. In some cases, genetic factors can also be responsible.

Risk factors

Though the condition can affect anyone, it’s more common in boys than in girls. The condition can also sometimes run in families.

Complications

  • Speech difficulties

The condition can interfere with the ability to make certain sounds such as ‘t’, ‘d’, ‘z’, ‘s’, ‘th’, ‘r’, and, ‘I’.

  • Breast-feeding problems

Breast-feeding requires a baby to keep his or her tongue over the lower gum while sucking. If unable to move the tongue or keep it in the right position, the baby might chew instead of sucking the nipple.

  • Challenges with other oral activities

Tongue-tie can interfere with activities such as licking and ice- cream cone, licking the lips, kissing, and playing a wind instrument.

  • Poor oral hygiene

For an older child and adult, tongue-tie can make it difficult to sweep food debris from the teeth, which can lead to decay and inflammation of the gums.