Is your baby having trouble breastfeeding? Or does your child have difficulty speaking or pronouncing certain sounds?
You may think the problem is a tongue tie. But, before you schedule an appointment for a frenectomy, here's what you should know about tongue ties and how to identify the signs.
What Is a Tongue Tie?
A tongue tie, or ankyloglossia in medical terms, is a condition where the frenulum, the tissue that connects your tongue to the floor of your mouth, is too short. Because of that, you may have difficulties moving your tongue or sticking it out past a certain point.
Tongue ties are more common in babies and children, although adults can have them too. This is not a condition that occurs because of a lifestyle or medical reason, but something you are born with.
Signs Your Child Might Have a Tongue Tie
Often, tongue ties are mild enough that they don't affect your child or interfere with their development. But, if you notice any of the following signs, it may be best to contact a pediatric dentist and see what they recommend:
- Your baby is having a hard time latching when breastfeeding.
- They seem to be always hungry even though they just nursed recently.
- They breastfeed for long periods.
- They are not gaining sufficient weight.
- You can hear a clicking sound when your child is breastfeeding.
- You experience pain while breastfeeding and your nipples are sore or have blisters.
- Your child has problems pronouncing certain sounds, especially those that require them to touch the roof of the mouth with their tongue.
- They can't move their tongue from side to side or stick it out.
How Is a Tongue Tie Treated
As we said, some tongue ties don't affect children and they learn to adjust to them as they grow older. But, if their tongue is severely restricted and it affects their ability to feed or speak properly, then it's time to see a specialist.
Tongue ties are usually treated with a frenectomy, a surgery where the frenulum is cut so that the child gets more tongue mobility.
The surgery is safe, simple, and non-invasive. The dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area and make sure that your child will not feel any pain or discomfort. If your child is restless or anxious, they may also recommend sedation options, such as laughing gas, to help your little one relax.
Most dentists use a laser to cut the frenulum as it's faster, more effective, minimizes bleeding and discomfort, and promotes faster healing.
The aftercare is minimal too. If a laser is used, then you won't have to return to the office to have stitches removed. Your dentist may show you a few exercises that you need to do with your child to ensure that the frenulum doesn't reattach.
Does Your Child Have a Tongue Tie? Call Our Columbia Team
Do you think that your child has a tongue tie and it's affecting them? Tiny Tooth Pediatric Dentistry in Columbia can help you. Book your appointment with us and we will examine your child and determine the best course of action.