Everything You Should Know About Tongue Tie in Dentistry

July 1, 2020

One of the rarely discussed oral problems in pediatric dentistry is the tongue-tie. Many children suffer from it, right from birth. If your child has not struggled with such an issue as this, it is hard to comprehend why one would be worried about their child.

As your child grows older, you will notice the effects of the problem gradually. Read on to learn all there is to this oral problem and how to detect it.

What Is Tongue-Tie?

It is a problem with the tongue that causes difficulty in speech, and even in eating. It often happens to kids, right from birth. The medical term for tongue-tie is ankyloglossia.

Ideally, the frenum, which is a small fold of the gum tissue holding the tongue to the floor of the mouth, can be too small or too tight. In other cases, the Frenum may attach more toward the tip of the tongue than further along. When this happens, it restricts the flexible movements of the tongue. This is why the child has difficulty with speech and even eating.

This condition happens from the moment of birth and can be big trouble for children as they grow older. It is alps more common among boy children than in girls. The severity of the problem also differs from one child to another, depending on how tight and small the frenulum is.

What Causes Tongue-tie?

Dental experts have not yet substantiated the particular cause of this condition. Given that children are born with it, it is possible to say that the condition runs in families. This means that if a family member has had the problem before, you are more likely to have it as well. Bottom-line, this condition is a result of the Frenum not forming well, hence improperly supporting the tongue.

What Are The Symptoms of A Tongue Tie?

Knowing whether your child has this condition may not be as obvious at first, especially for infants. Before your child can speak properly, there may not be much to give away the issue. Some of the symptoms associated with this condition include:

  • Problem breastfeeding – even before your child can eat hard foods, you will notice a problem with the breastfeeding habits. This can be explained as difficulty in latching to the nipple, which even causes nipple pain. While this may not surprise you at first, be keen on the weight gain progress of your child.
  • Problems with pronunciation – as soon as your child starts blubbering some sounds, you should notice a difference. With the tongue-tie condition, the kid is likely to have a hard time sounding out some words. Some of the sounds that are hard to pronounce include s, th, d, to mention a few.
  • The gap between teeth – if you notice a significant gap between the two front teeth if the lower jaw, it is a possible sign of tongue-tie.
  • Cleft palate – although on very rare occasions, a child can have a cleft lip as a result of ankyloglossia.
    Diagnosis of Tongue-tie

As observed, this is not one of the most obvious oral problems to detect. Besides having that it affects kids at a very young age it may take time before you detect the problem.

Usually, a dental expert will diagnose the problem through a physical exam. This will only be a routine check after you express your concerns about the development of your child.

Available Treatment Options

While this condition is common, very few parents detect it early enough. This leaves specialists with limited options for treating your child. Ultimately, the sooner you catch it, the more options there are for your child to get the necessary treatment.

Some of the treatment options you have to look into are:

  • Talk to a breastfeeding specialist – here, you can gather some tips on how to improve your child’s feeding and reduce discomfort on your part.
  • Consider speech therapy – if you have detected the problem too late your child may already have a problem with speech. Seek speech therapy to help in this area.
  • Consider frenotomy surgery – it is a Smile surgical procedure done to release the Frenum, allowing the tongue more freedom for movement. Afterward, the issue may be corrected, but your kid might still need to see a speech therapist for aid in words and sounds pronunciation.