Conditions We Treat: Tongue Tie & Ankyloglossia

Ankyloglossia, also referred to as tongue-tie, is a condition in which a tight, thick mass of tissue attaches the tip of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, causing limited tongue movement. During normal fetal development, the lingual frenulum splits shortly before birth, allowing the tongue to move freely. Ankyloglossia prevents this split from occurring. The precise cause for this condition is unknown, but it is believed to be a genetic defect with no identifiable risk factors.

Ankyloglossia causes difficulty feeding, swallowing, and speaking. In mild cases, the patient will be able to function normally, while in severe cases surgical intervention is necessary to correct the problem.

Ankyloglossia 1

What Are the Symptoms?

A baby with ankyloglossia will struggle to lift his or her tongue or move it sideways. The tongue may also have a heart-shaped appearance. On their own, these are not troubling signs, but the following symptoms require medical examination:

  • Difficulty breastfeeding
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty eating solid food


How Is It Diagnosed?

Dr. Samadi will diagnose ankyloglossia during a physical exam. If the condition is present in an infant, he may use a special screening device to measure the tongue’s appearance and examine its mobility.


How Is Ankyloglossia Treated?

Some doctors recommend correcting this condition as soon as possible before a newborn child is brought home from the hospital. Other doctors advise parents to wait and see if the condition improves on its own. In many cases, the lingual frenulum loosens as the child grows older.

Due to the high costs of surgery, we recommend that parents wait to see if the condition resolves itself. If it doesn’t, and it continues to interfere with the child’s ability to eat or speak, an operation called a frenotomy can be performed. The surgeon will use a special pair of sterile scissors to free the frenulum from the floor of the mouth. The procedure is quick and relatively painless, as there are few nerve endings in this area of the body.

If your child appears to have limited tongue mobility or is having trouble eating or speaking, call us today to make an appointment.

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