“Tongue-tied” is the common name for ankyloglossia — when the lingual frenum (the thin piece of skin under your tongue that connects it to the bottom of your mouth) is too short or too far forward. In many cases, it is completely harmless. However, in some children, it can cause problems with speech development, eating, and swallowing.
If your pediatrician or dentist has noticed that your child is tongue-tied and it is affecting their development, they may refer you to an oral surgeon for a frenectomy or tongue-tie release surgery.
At TMJ & Sleep Therapy, our skilled doctors are trained to safely perform this procedure on children.
The lingual frenum is an important piece of skin because it anchors your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. It varies in length from person to person, and when it is too short or too far forward, it can inhibit the tongue’s movement too much, which can in turn lead to oral health issues. In infants and children, being tongue-tied can be troublesome in the early stages of development.
- Some infants who are tongue-tied have trouble breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle.
- Tongue-tied toddlers and children can have trouble eating and swallowing.
- When a child is learning to speak, being tongue-tied can also present an issue.
Naturally, when a child has problems eating and swallowing, it can affect their ability to get proper nutrition. A frenectomy would therefore be an essential procedure for their overall health and well-being.
A frenectomy is a simple procedure that is sometimes called a tongue-tie release. The doctor numbs the area and cuts the frenum just enough to allow the tongue to move more freely and naturally. The procedure is done using a local anesthetic and normally takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.
Your child will experience very little discomfort during the procedure, and recovery is typically very straightforward. We will recommend that you make sure the area under the tongue stays clean and that your child eats softer foods until it is completely healed.
With a tongue-tie release procedure, your child should be fully healed within about a week. They will then be able to eat, swallow, and speak normally.
After a frenectomy:
- if your child was having trouble breastfeeding or bottle feeding, eating and swallowing, their appetite will improve, and eating will become much easier
- if your child was having problems with speech development, their speech will begin to improve
Tongue Tie Release/Frenectomy Paperwork
Take this questionnaire to see if your child might be a candidate.