The tongue-tie, also known as Ankyloglossia is a congenital issue that is more common in boys. The tongue tie is a piece of tight skin under a baby’s tongue that is attached to the tongue.
In most babies, this piece of skin should separate from the tongue before being born, however in some cases it doesn’t separate, causing a tongue-tie.
This causes problems with the mobility of the tongue, along with speech, swallowing, eating and breathing issues, however tongue-ties are not serious issues in all cases.
Signs that your infant or toddler have a tongue tie include:
Tongue-ties can seriously impact a infant and toddlers growth and development due to breastfeeding issues, oral hygiene, speech issues and more.
It’s important to understand the impacts of tongue-ties, as they may cause lifelong problems due to the impact they have on efficient breastfeeding and other important factors. Breastfeeding is important for infants and toddlers as the mother’s milk is responsible for much of the nutrition, growth and development, antibodies and immune system development.
This means a tongue-tie which is impacting the supply of milk for the infant or toddler may cause a lack of nutrition. The shorter supply of milk being taken by the baby’s demand from the mother also leads to a reduced supply by the mother’s hormones.
The tongue-tie causes a lack of moveability of the tongue, which impacts speech development.
The sounds that are most impacted and difficult to pronounce include – t, d, l, s, z, r and th. These sounds require a lot of work by the tongue, and unfortunately tongue-ties prevent the required tongue movements.
Tongue-ties can make cleaning the mouth more difficult, which makes it harder to remove all bad bacteria and food debris.
This means the chances of tooth decay, gum infections and a gap between the lower front teeth are more relevant.
Children who suffer from tongue-ties will also have other problems, including the following:
There are different classifications of tongue-ties, including the following:
The most common tongue-tie, which appears in the form of a heart-shaped tongue. The class one tongue-tie attaches to the tip of the tongue.
The anterior tie which inserts itself behind the tip of the tongue. The heart-shape is not present, but there are clear visual signs of a tongue-tie.
The tongue-tie which is the closest to the base of the tongue and attaches to the middle part of the mouth’s floor and tongue. These tongue-ties are usually tighter and cause elasticity issues.
This tongue-tie can commonly be missed as the tie is located underneath the mucous membrane. The tongues sides and front can all move freely, however the middle section of the tongue is stuck in place.
Babies are born with tongue-ties, therefore it’s not something that develops after birth. The lingual frenulum should naturally separate from the tongue, however when it doesn’t, this causes a tongue-tie.
It’s not known why this exactly happens. However, theories suggest it’s related to genetics.
If you suspect something is wrong with your infant, toddler or child’s mouth, it’s important to visit a healthcare provider. At Kitchener Street Dental in Toowoomba we offer dental services, including tongue-tie treatment.
We will perform a physical examination of your child’s mouth to confirm any possible conditions. If a tongue-tie is present in your child’s mouth, we will organise for surgery to take place.
At Kitchener Street Dental we use the laser frenectomy treatment to remove-ties. The treatment is relatively quick and simple as it can be completed in a short appointment at our dental practice.
Laser frenectomy treatment allows for removal of the tongue-tie without the need for scissors. The laser makes a clean cut to remove the tongue-tie and in general, lasers have superior advantages over traditional cutting with scissors.
Our team has undergone sufficient training and education in order to safely and effectively deliver laser surgery techniques to remove tongue-ties.
We offer both the initial consultation to identify oral health issues, as well as consultation and treatment when tongue-tie has been identified and referred to us for surgery.
Laser treatment has many benefits as it reduces soft-tissue damage, kills bacteria in the process, and reduces the chances of swelling and inflammation during the healing process.
After a laser frenectomy, your little one will experience a varying degree of pain and discomfort for approximately 1-3 days.
It’s important to comfort your child and provide sufficient breastfeeding in a comfortable and relaxed environment.
Generally, pain-relief will never be provided for infants under 4 weeks of age, but for infants over 4 weeks of age, pain relief may be an option advised by the health practitioner.
If you are interested and would like to book your infant, toddler or child in for a consultation regarding tongue-ties, please contact us today.
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