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Minimally Invasive Tongue Tie Treatment: What You Need to Know

Tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition in which the frenulum (the band of tissue that connects the tongue to the base of the mouth) is too short and tight, which can restrict the movement of the tongue. This can make it difficult for a person to eat, speak, or even clean their mouth properly. However, the good news is that there are minimally invasive treatments to correct this condition. Below, we’ll discuss what tongue-tie is, the symptoms associated with it and how it’s diagnosed, as well as some of the potential treatment options available.

What is Tongue-Tie?

Tongue-tie affects between 4% and 11% of newborns, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Essentially, no two cases are alike. “A seemingly small difference in the length and thickness of the frenulum can produce vastly different symptoms from one patient to the next,” explains Dr. Kemper from our team at East End Dental. In severe cases, the tongue may be held down so tightly that it limits the baby’s ability to breastfeed.

Signs and Symptoms of Tongue-Tie

There are a variety of symptoms associated with tongue-tie, and these symptoms can vary widely from person to person. Some of the more common symptoms include difficulty sticking out the tongue, difficulty moving the tongue from side to side, and a groove on the tongue tip or signs of a receding lower jaw. Some other less common symptoms include issues with feeding (i.e. trouble latching on) or speech difficulties (in children and adults).

Diagnosing Tongue-Tie

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor can usually diagnose tongue-tie simply by examining your child’s mouth. If your physician is unsure after examining the child, they may refer you to a specialist who can provide a more comprehensive evaluation through a physical examination. Depending on the extent of the evaluation, your doctor may also order an x-ray or ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Tongue-Tie

There are several treatment options available to correct tongue-tie. In mild cases, no treatment may be needed, as some children develop better tongue movements as they grow and develop. In more severe cases, a minor surgery may be needed to cut the frenulum. Surgery is performed under local anesthetic and usually doesn’t take longer than a few minutes. In times where a more invasive procedure is not the best option, less invasive procedures such as myofunctional therapy and dental therapy are an option. In myofunctional therapy, the jaw and face muscles are rehabilitated so that the tongue can move more freely. In dental therapy, exercises and mouth stretching are employed to help the tongue develop a more natural range of motion.

Finding the Right Doctor for Tongue-Tie Treatment

If your doctor recommends that your child undergo tongue-tie surgery, you’ll want to make sure you find the right specialist to perform the procedure. “Everyone’s case is different, so it’s important for parents to discuss their child’s condition with a qualified and experienced specialist to determine the right treatment,” assures Dr. Kemper. Specialized surgeons, like those at our facility, have the training and experience necessary to perform the surgery quickly and efficiently, while minimizing risks and discomfort.

Conclusion

Tongue-tie can cause serious complications in a person’s life, however, many minimally invasive treatment options are now available to correct the condition. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned here, it’s important to see a physician as soon as possible in order to receive a proper diagnosis and explore potential treatment options. In cases where surgery is recommended, it’s important to find a physician who has experience performing the procedure and can help you and your child to feel comfortable through the process.