Ankyloglossia (Tongue Tie): What It Is and Why It Is Worth Paying Attention to

The state of the baby’s mouth cavity is important in both nutrition and forming of speech, smile and pleasant appearance. However, there is one small detail that parents often do not pay attention to. This is the frenulum of the tongue, and it plays quite a significant role in terms of the child overall development.


What is the frenulum of the tongue?

This term refers to an anatomical formation, which is nothing more than very thin folds formed on the mucosa at the area of the tongue junction with the sublingual space and gums.

In general, every person has 3 frenulums in the mouth:

  • Sublingual frenulum,
  • Lower lip frenulum (connects its inner side and the gums in the middle of the lower jaw),
  • Upper lip frenulum (connects its inner side and the gums in the middle of the upper jaw).

Such seemingly small folds play a big role in a human life, since they help infants in correct latching on to the breast, and helps older children to clearly pronounce the sounds. In addition, the frenulums directly affect the formation of the dental occlusion.


What is the danger of ankyloglossia?

When they say that the tongue frenulum is shortened, it means that its length is less than normal (8 mm) or it is incorrectly located. If a baby has such a problem, it will take a lot of effort to properly eat, since this pathology will prevent the baby from properly latching on to the nipple and creating the necessary vacuum. Children with ankyloglossia are usually restless and underweight.

In children of three years of age (and older), ankyloglossia may result in gaps between the maxillary incisors, and the incisors themselves are often protuberant.

If a baby has ankyloglossia, it will not be able to pronounce some sounds, and it is very difficult or practically impossible to correct such speech defects.

How do you understand that the tongue frenulum is shortened? To do this, it is enough to pull the baby’s lip and inspect the thickness of the fold of the mucosa. In case of pathology, it looks dense and is attached to the base of the incisors.


How to treat the problem?

If you do not want to have surgery for your baby, you can try to stretch the sublingual frenulum a little. To do this, you need to contact a speech therapist, who will teach your child some special exercises. The technique that your child will be engaged in with a speech therapist for several months also helps in correcting speech defects.

It happens that ankyloglossia is noticed in the maternity hospital, and incision is performed. The pathology that is discovered later and cannot be corrected by a speech therapist, can be eliminated with the help of a surgical procedure.

After the surgery (or frenulum massage), it is important to use special local anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory medications that quickly and permanently relieve the pain syndrome.

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8.2.18  20:23