Tongue-Tie (WHAT IS IT & HOW TO FIX?)

Tongue-tie can cause problems for those who have it. It’s a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue range of motion and may interfere with breastfeeding or how someone eats, speaks, and swallows. In some cases, surgery is required to correct this problem but in other instances, it might not be problematic enough to require correction. In this post, we’ll take you through the 3 basic facts of tongue-tie known as Ankyloglossia. Let’s get going.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of tongue-tie are easy to recognize.

  • Tongue appears notched or wrinkled when stuck out
  • Trouble lifting the tongue upward
  • Side to side tongue movement issues
  • Tongue fails to extend past the lower front teeth


What are the Signs of Tongue-tie?

Your child may have a speech problem caused by tongue-tie. You may have noticed your older child complaining of difficulty eating or speaking. Or, you’re bothered by the same signs in yourself. Tongue problems such as these can be solved with surgery to release any tissue that is restricting movement.


What is the Cause of Tongue-Tie?

A common reason for tongue-tie is that the lingual frenulum does not separate before birth. This can happen when a child’s genetics are involved, but why this happens and how it affects their life later on in childhood are largely unknown to researchers today.


Health Issues

Tongue-tie can cause and lead to health issues. These must be addressed quickly or the following issues will occur.


Breastfeeding Problems

Breast-feeding requires a baby to keep his or her tongue over the lower gum while sucking. If unable to move their tongues, babies might chew instead of suck on nipples which can cause significant nipple pain and interfere with getting breast milk. This ultimately leads to inadequate nutrition and failure to thrive for children suffering from poor breastfeeding skills.


This ultimately leads to inadequate nutrition


Speech Difficulties

Tongue-tie can mess with certain sounds from the mouth. Sounds like t,th,d,z,s,r, and l. are affected.


Oral Hygiene

One negative effect of poor oral hygiene is the formation of a gap between two bottom teeth. This may lead to tooth decay and inflammation in the gums (gingivitis.)

Tongue-tie can also cause this situation by making it difficult for food debris to be swept from teeth, which ultimately leads to dental problems.


Daily Use

Tongue-tie can often hinder other oral activities. Licking an ice cream cone or kissing will be affected.


Tongue-Tie Surgery

Tongue-tie laser surgery is a simple and painless procedure done on babies without any anaesthesia at all. Doctors use lasers to cut the tissue that’s holding their tongue down, making it easy for them to latch onto a nipple or breast milk for feeding.

The laser can be used in children up until six months old because there are few nerve endings near this area of the mouth where they need to make an incision with scissors anyway. So kids don’t feel anything. But if your child is older than 6-months-old, you might want him/her under general anaesthesia just as a precautionary measure.

The laser reduces pain, bleeding, and recovery time. For your safety, you will not be able to stay in the room during your child’s tongue-tie surgery. However, this procedure typically only takes 1-2 minutes, giving you peace of mind knowing it is quick.


Post Surgery

If you’re planning on having your child undergo tongue-tie laser surgery, they must stay home with their family to recover. After the procedure is over and done with, there will be some adverse reactions depending on how much anaesthesia was used.

If general anaesthesia was administered, expect them to have an increased heart rate and respiratory system as well as nausea or dizziness. If local anaesthesia was only given, don’t worry about these side effects, but keep in mind that parents need to monitor children for vomiting after eating anything heavy.

After tongue tie surgery, your paediatrician will teach you how to stretch the lips and tongue of your child so that they don’t reattach. You can do this by laying them on their back with feet facing away from you.



Tongue-tie need not be a problem or hindrance to your child’s life. Contact Dr. Engel at Kinder Smiles today with any questions or to make an appointment for your child or teen. Our new dentist and orthodontic specialists are eager to make your appointments great and we can arrange a treatment plan to suit you.

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