Tongue-tie can be a serious obstacle for developing children. It can affect an infant’s ability to put on weight, lead to speech development problems for toddlers, and if left untreated into adolescence can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Fortunately, tongue-tie is easy to treat once diagnosed, and there are some reliable warning signs you can look out for.
What Is Tongue-Tie?
A frenulum is a thin layer of tissue in the mouth. Everyone has them, and the one that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is especially important. Most people never have problems with this tissue, but some people are born with an unusually tight frenulum. That’s a problem since it effectively does ‘tie’ the tongue, limiting its movement.
This limited movement can lead to several problems including:
- Difficulty breastfeeding, making it a challenge for the baby to get enough nutrition.
- Pronunciation Issues, since sounds like “d,” “t,” “s,” “l,” “r,” “th,” and “z” become difficult to pronounce.
- Gum disease, since it’s more difficult to dislodge food debris with the tongue, the gums can more easily become inflamed.
How to Tell If Your Child Has Tongue Tie
There are some easy visual signs you can check for. Your child’s tongue might be heart-shaped or notched, and they may not be able to stick it out very far. Limited motion is a good first thing to check, but isn’t always obvious. Make sure to stay aware of any difficulty your child has with speaking, nursing, or eating. They might sleep restlessly or snore. Depending on their age they might even complain about the discomfort.
How Is Tongue Tie Treated?
Most of the time a frenotomy can be performed to quickly free the tongue. The frenulum is snipped, and since there’s very little feeling in the tissue, patients experience minimal pain. Complications are rare but ongoing at-home care is required to prevent the tissue from reforming too tightly while it’s healing. Alternatively, your child may need more extensive surgery if their frenulum is too thick to easily snip.
Tongue Tie Treatment at Dental Solutions of Columbus
At Dental Solutions of Columbus , serving the Columbus, Indiana community, we can diagnose and treat tongue-tie. If you’re concerned your child may be struggling with this condition, please contact us today to set up a consultation!