Tongue tie, also referred to as ankyloglossia, is a condition where the tissue that connects the tongue to the mouth is too tight or short. If your newborn has tongue tie, you may be able to see that your baby’s tongue looks short or perhaps oddly shaped when they open their mouth. This condition restricts the tongue’s mobility and can also lead to breastfeeding issues.
If you’ve been having trouble with breastfeeding, it is possible that tongue tie could be a cause of these problems. Babies with tongue tie are more likely to have trouble with latching and not getting enough milk, which can delay their growth. If tongue tie is causing breastfeeding problems, the tongue tie specialists at Starlight Pediatric Primary & Urgent Care can provide you with answers.
How is Tongue Tie Treated?
While the frenulum (the band of tissue that holds the tongue to the floor of the mouth) may loosen and correct itself over the years, if your baby isn’t getting the proper nutrients they need through breastfeeding or bottle feeding due to tongue tie then it’s particularly important that we treat the problem before it causes further issues.
A simple surgical procedure known as a frenotomy is performed right here in our office and it involves releasing the frenulum so that it doesn’t anchor the tongue so tightly to the mouth. This is a fast, relatively painless procedure due to the fact that this area of the mouth has very little nerve endings. Alternately, one of our tongue-tie specialists may recommend a frenuloplasty if there is extensive repair needed to correct the frenulum, which will require the infant to be under general anesthesia.
Of course, we understand how stressful it can be for parents to consider surgery for a newborn. We are happy to sit down and discuss your child’s tongue tie options with you so that you understand the pros and cons of treatments, as well as alternative options. While milder forms of tongue tie may reverse themselves with time, more severe cases that affect a baby’s ability to feed and get proper nutrients will require a closer look from a qualified specialist.