What Problems Does It Cause, and What Should Be Done About It?
The condition known as ankyloglossia can cause problems for some individuals, starting from infancy. We asked dentists to tell us more about tongue-tie and what kind of treatment they recommend for it. Here’s what they had to say.
Tongued-tied it a term referring to an ankylosed tongue; this is one in which the tendon under the tongue is short and will not allow the tongue to come forward. This can interfere with speech and make the tongue tired after speaking for a while. It can also cause a pulling of the tissue directly below the lower anteriors causing that tissue to recede jeopardizing the teeth. Sometimes we recommend it be released to allow for better speech and cleaning of teeth with the tongue. It is a very minor procedure that often can be done with a laser.
Tongue-tie is when the frenum (a fibrous attachment) under the tongue is too tight and won’t let the tongue extend to its full length. Often this is noticed in infants as it will affect their swallow pattern and nursing. Our local pedodontist likes to do the procedure to fix this situation in the office on infants under 3 months. A doctor can either use a laser or more traditional surgical means and it is a very quick, safe procedure.
If the situation isn’t taken care of in early infancy, it can cause poor swallow patterns, which can cause poor development of the jaw and position of the teeth. It can also be a cause of speech challenges when older. It can and should be corrected when found to help these situations.
Many times, the pediatrician will discover this during the infant’s exams. Otherwise, the dentist can find it during exams as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Surgeon General do recommend that all children have their dental home by age one and exam when the first teeth come in.
Sometimes a speech therapist will discover tongue-tie during evaluation and treatment of speech challenges and make the appropriate referrals.
The procedure described above is known as a frenectomy. You can read more about what it involves by clicking this link. If you believe that you or someone you know may be affected by ankyloglossia, refer to your dentist for their recommendation. If you are currently looking for a new dentist, check out our directory to read reviews of dentists near you.