What is tongue-tie?
Ankyloglossia or tongue-tie is the condition where the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth by the frenulum (small fold of tissue under the tongue). This usually results in reduced mobility of the tongue. It is commonly observed that a person with tongue-tie cannot protrude the tongue tip beyond the edge of the lower teeth or touch the area behind the upper front teeth. Sometimes when a person with tongue-tie attempts to stick out the tongue it forms a characteristic "W" shape.
What are the potential effects of tongue-tie?
When should I go see the doctor?
In the newborn period where tongue-tie can limit breast feeding, the problem should be addressed immediately. Your primary care physician will most likely refer you to a pediatric ENT surgeon to have the problem fixed surgically. This procedure is called a frenuloplasty and is usually performed in the operating room under a very short general anesthetic. In older children there is less urgency and it often helps to have a full evaluation by a speech and language pathologist before considering surgery.
Will my child need surgery?
Not every child with tongue-tie needs surgery. It is true that tongue-tie can impact feeding and speech production, however, these problems are usually observed in the more severe cases. Thus, it is important that each child receives a thorough individual assessment and evaluation in order for the most appropriate management strategies to be selected. Many children would benefit from consultation with a pediatric speech and language pathologist. This can help parents make a decision about whether to proceed with surgery. These professionals can also offer important post operative exercises to help improve tongue movement and awareness.
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1005 Harborside Drive
Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants
1600 West League City Parkway, Suite D
League City, Texas
Family HealthCare Center
9300 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway
Texas City, Texas
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