Tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a tether under the tongue to either the lower inner gum ridge, the base of the mouth, or somewhere in between these two spaces. Tongue tie also frequently occurs with lip tie. Babies and children with tongue and or lip tie can exhibit a variety of feeding and speech challenges, some from birth and some manifest as the developmental demands occur, and the child can no longer compensate for this mechanical restriction.
While the word anterior versus posterior is commonly used to distinguish different tongue tie types, the terms only describe the location of attachments, and often does not determine the functional severity. Sometimes, even seemly “ok” tongue movements can be the hidden obstacle to successfully feeding, swallowing and speech.
If your baby has feeding struggles to breast feed, bottle feed, or transition to baby foods and solid foods, make sure you have an experienced professional check your child out. It can be upsetting to parents that many pediatricians, pediatric laryngologist (ENT doctors), feeding therapists and dentists did not have sufficient training in the identification of tongue tie. There are not many familiar with such restrictions relationship to feeding, swallowing, and speech. A mere “peep-in” or “flip the lip” look is not enough to determine the presence of a tongue or lip tie. This is because the frenulum can be very deceiving.
When selecting the professional to release your child’s lip and/or tongue tie, be sure to find out if:
- Walk you through the entire process, which should include demonstration and written instructions on how to perform post surgical exercises, regardless of the method of release (laser or traditional scissor/blade cut).
- Offer you follow-up appointment to check on incision site and also offer other professional referral support if your child is not making progress with feeding, swallowing, or speech.
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