A tongue-tie is a type of tethered oral tissue (commonly referred to as a TOT) and is an anatomical variation under the tongue that occurs when the strip of connective tissue (lingual frenulum) connecting a baby’s tongue to the floor of their mouth is shorter or tighter than usual. Other oral ties, or TOTs, include lip-ties and cheek or buccal ties. In certain circumstances, this attachment may have an impact on the child's ability to function normally.
Signs of tongue-tie include:
- Restriction of the tongue’s movement, making it harder to breastfeed
- Difficulty lifting the tongue up or moving it from side to side
- Difficulty sticking the tongue out
- The tongue looks notched or heart-shaped when stuck out
Treatment of Tongue-Tie
Releasing this tissue is a routine in-office procedure that results in minimal to no bleeding. Your child’s doctor examines the lingual frenulum and uses laser to snip the frenulum free. Stitches are usually not necessary. Since there are few nerve endings or blood vessels in the lingual frenulum, local anesthetic is often not necessary.
Frenotomy for tongue-tie in older children and adults is similar to that for infants, although it may involve stitches. Speech therapy may also be necessary.