Tongue Tie In Infants: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment


If your child is struggling to nurse, or if you've noticed that your child's tongue movements seem restricted, you may want to consider the possibility of a tongue tie. Below is an overview of tongue tie in infants, including what causes it, what symptoms you may notice, and how it's usually treated.

What is Tongue Tie and What Causes It?

The lingual frenulum is a band of tissue that connects the tip of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. While this band usually detaches prior to birth, in some babies, this band of tissue can remain attached and be unusually short or tight, which causes a medical condition known as tongue tie.

When the lingual frenulum is too short or tight, your child's tongue will be restricted from movement. This can lead to latching and feeding issues in infants. While there are certain conditions which may contribute to higher rates of tongue tie, the cause for the majority of cases is unknown. It's important to understand that there's nothing that the mother did wrong during her pregnancy to cause tongue tie.

What are the Symptoms of Tongue Tie in Infants?

If your baby is having trouble latching or doesn't seem to be getting much breast milk or formula during feeding time, then your infant's pediatrician may suspect tongue tie.

Common symptoms of tongue tie include the inability to move the tongue up towards the roof of the mouth, as well as from side to side. In infants, this can usually be determined by placing a finger in the child's mouth and noting how their tongue moves when latching.  Tongue tie can also be seen, so if your child's tongue appears to be tight in the front or if there's a noticeable band of tissue at the base of your child's tongue, it's time to bring them to the pediatrician for an official diagnosis.

How is Tongue Tie in Babies Treated?

There are differing opinions when it comes to the treatment of tongue tie in babies, so while some doctors may recommend immediate treatment, others would rather wait to see if the issue corrects itself.

If your baby's tongue tie doesn't seem to be an issue and your child is otherwise healthy and gaining weight as they should, your pediatrician may recommend waiting before treatment. If your child is struggling to eat and gain weight, however, your pediatrician will likely recommend immediate treatment, assuming there are no other issues at play.

There are two common treatments. The first is a frenotomy which is a simple snipping of the lingual frenulum which will cause it to disconnect from the tip of the tongue. The second is a more complex procedure which may be required for more extreme cases of tongue tie, and it's called a frenuloplasty. This involves anesthesia and  is used when the wound created by snipping the frenulum would be too large to heal on its own.

If you suspect that your baby is suffering from tongue tie, a pediatrician at a clinic like Northeast Wyoming Pediatric Associates Pc can diagnose the condition and recommend treatment.


3 August 2016

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