Tongue tie

When your child’s frenulum (string of tissue under your child’s tongue which connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth) is too short causing problems to the free movement of the tongue then he is said to have tongues tie. A mild tongue tie may not affect the child. But if it is sever your child’s tongue will be tied to the bottom of the mouth causing severe difficulties and inconvenience to the child’s ability to speak normally. It has been found that about 4 to 11 percent of children are having the problem of tongue tie.

Diagnosis

If your baby is having tied tongue, then it will be diagnosed in the first routine check itself. Midwife will put her finger in the baby’s mouth and confirm the existence of proper tongue without any deformity like tongue ties.  But it is not very easy to diagnose tongue tie. In some cases tongue tie is diagnosed after conducting proper examination under the guidance of a pediatrician or a breast feeding specialist when some difficulty is found in breast feeding. Restricted movement of the tongue caused by the adhesion of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is a very common symptom which can help the diagnoses of the tied tongue. Patients with tied tongue cannot protrude their tongue beyond the lower gingiva. Similarly such patients are unable to touch the upper teeth with tongue when the mouth is in the open position.

Symptoms

1)      Difficulty in breast feeding

2)      Breast slipping occurs while feeding

3)      Baby does not gain weight as expected

4)      Problems in speaking.

Treatment Options

If the tied tongue is noticed at the time of birth itself it is better to leave it like that and let it be cured in the natural way taking its own time. In olden times midwives used to cut the frenulum using a sharp fingernail immediately after the child was born. In modern times a surgical procedure named frenulectomy is done by an otolaryngologist or by a plastic surgeon. This can be done by a general surgeon also. This procedure is done in the office of the surgeon without any anesthesia. The frenulum is cut with the help of scissors or using electrocautery devices. Frenulectomy is best suited for young babies and it has been found to be extremely useful for reducing breast feeding problems.

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