Are You Or Your Child Tongue-Tied?

Most often when we hear the term “tongue-tied” we’re using it as an expression meaning that someone  is having trouble getting their words out.

But there is an actual condition involving tongue-tie. (The big name for it is ankyloglossia.) It occurs when the band of tissue (called a frenum) that connects your tongue to the floor of your mouth is abnormally short and positioned too far forward. The frenum is usually thick and fibrous.

Signs of Tongue-Tie include:

  • Difficulty lifting your tongue to your upper teeth or difficulty moving your tongue from side to side
  • Inability to stick your tongue out beyond your lower front teeth
  • A notched or heart-shaped appearance to the tip of your tongue

The most common problems associated with Tongue-Tie include:

  • Difficulty breastfeeding (the tongue-tie may interfere with your child latching on to your breast, limit milk transfer, or encourage chewing rather than sucking on the nipple)
  • Recession of your gums in the area where the frenum/tongue attach.
  • Possible interference with speech (sounds such as t, d, l, th, and s may be affected)
  • Inability to sweep food debris off your teeth.

Not all cases require correction. Each case needs to be evaluated on an individual basis. This may include pediatricians or doctors, your or your child’s dentist (pediatric or general), lactation experts (for young children), and speech therapists. For those tongue-ties that do require correction there types of surgical correction that are commonly used to relieve the frenum.

Though Dr. Robb does not perform these surgeries, she can assist in assessing whether a tongue-tie is present and help direct you to specialists who can further evaluate your or your child's case. Appointments can be made by calling 440-960-1940.

Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.