Tongue Tie

Tongue Tie Symptoms

Tongue tie (otherwise known as ankyloglossia) is when the tip of the tongue is anchored to the floor of the mouth (lingual frenulum). Tongue tie may extend all the way to the tip or it may extend partially to the tip, resulting in a partial tongue tie.

Symptoms include:

Trouble with breastfeeding and even bottle feeding

• Swallowing problems along with mouth-breathing

• In toddlers, speech difficulties with sounds requiring a mobile tongue tip (sibilants and lingual sounds)

• In teenagers and adults, continued speech difficulties, eating or even unable to kiss properly!

But when it comes to newborns, tongue tie can lead to feeding problems which can be quite distressing to both mother and child.

With tongue tie, the tip of the tongue is unable to help the infant draw the nipple into the mouth. It also prevents the tongue from being normally positioned between the nipple and lower gum line, leading the infant to 'chew' on the nipple.

An example of tongue tie in a baby:

tongue tie dentalcarextra kids

What You’re Looking For

When you peek inside of your child’s mouth, does it seem like this strip of skin attaches closer to the tip of their tongue? Watch for clefting/forking at the tip of the tongue (which is usually only in severe cases.) It may be a matter of time before the frenum tension causes the tongue to start to cleft. If you have a toddler and they are not able to stick their tongue out, it may be due to a tight frenum.  

Lip Tie Symptoms

Like a tongue tie, lip ties are also caused by tight strips of skin (frenum) between the lip and the gums surrounding your child’s teeth. If the lips cannot close together all the way or your child has difficulty speaking, the frenum may be too tight and need to be released by our children’s dentist. Learn more about lip ties here.

Trouble Nursing or Using a Bottle?

Some babies with tongue ties may become extra fussy when it’s time for feeding. Either they seem to not get enough from the bottle or may not latch well at the breast. If you’re working with a lactation consultant or near your paediatrician, they may be able to tell you for certain whether your baby has a lip or tongue tie. 

 

Is Your Child Experiencing Speech Delays?

Perhaps your child never had trouble nursing as a baby, but now that they’re getting to be older, you notice they have trouble forming certain sounds when they talk. The orofacial function of your child’s oral muscles — including their tongue and beneath the lip — plays a significant impact on their verbal skills and language development. 

Some parents don’t realize there is a problem with their child’s tongue or lips until they’re much older. If speech is delayed, it could be that a lip or tongue tie is the largest contributing factor. 

 

When to See a Dentist for Tongue Ties

If you suspect that your newborn, infant, or toddler has a tongue tie, we invite you to call our practice at your earliest convenience. The sooner the condition is diagnosed and corrected, the easier it will be for your child to nurse and/or develop proper speech patterns. 

It’s never a problem to bring your infant in for a short evaluation. Within a few seconds our children’s dentist can let you know whether a lip or tongue tie is a concern and if its severity requires some form of interceptive therapy. 

Call us today to request an appointment!

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