What is “tongue-tie?”
Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition that is found in approximately three percent of the population and occurs when the bottom of the tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth by a thin membrane (frenulum), which may limit the movement of the tongue. The condition varies from a mild form in which the tongue is attached only by a thin membrane, to a severe form in which the tongue is completely united to the floor of the mouth.
What are signs of tongue-tie?
- Painful or damaged nipples while breastfeeding
- Baby has difficulty to stay latched to the breast due to loss of suction
- Baby becomes tired quickly when feeding
- Baby is underweight
- Baby is not able to touch the roof of their mouth with the tip of their tongue
- Baby is not able to protrude their tongue past the lips
- Difficulty swallowing
- Speech difficulties
- Thin membrane visible under the baby’s tongue near the tip
- The tip of baby’s tongue may look heart-shaped or appear split instead of pointed
Occasionally, a tongue-tie does not cause any problems and no treatment is required. A consultation is recommended by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon – Dr. Favot or a lactation consultant to determine whether or not a surgical intervention is necessary.
A frenotomy or frenectomy is common for treating tongue-tie. It consists of clipping the membrane attaching the tongue to the floor of the mouth. More than one cut may be required to properly release the tongue. This procedure is performed either at the hospital or in clinic at North Face Centre with or without anesthesia.
Your child’s mouth heals quickly. Stretching exercises are critical to ensure that the released areas do not heal back together. You will receive additional information on stretching exercises at your consultation. We recommend starting the exercises 4 hours following the surgery, every 3-4 hours for a minimum of 2 weeks. Healing is usually complete after 2-4 weeks.
You will receive a post-operative booklet on the day of your consultation.