What is Ankyloglossia?

Tongue-tie is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongues range of motion. It is defined as an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) that tethers the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.

What Does It Look Like?

Inability to stick the tongue out, resulting in a “heart-shaped” tongue.

Corrugated, or wavy, tongue due to the tongue resting on the lower teeth from the inability to rest in the roof of the mouth.

Inability for the tongue to reach the roof of the mouth while the jaws are open.

Why Do We Look For It?

The normal resting position of the tongue is on the palate. In addition to being a source of comfort, the tongue on the palate begins to ‘shape’ and widen the mouth, jaw and even facial features.

A “tied” tongue which is unable to rest on the palate may result in devastating oral and health consequences such as:

  • narrow and collapsed jaws, which leads to crowding of the teeth
  • speech and chewing difficulties
  • poor dental health
  • breathing disorders (such as sleep apnea)
  • sleep deprivation, behavior problems and emotional stress
  • clicking/popping/pain in the jaw-migraines

Treatment

Babies:
Frenotomy- a simple procedure, where no medication is needed, to clip the attachment of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This aids in the ability to breastfeed, breathe and develop.

Children and Adults:
Frenulectomy- a non-invasive surgical procedure, typically completed with numbing gel and a laser, to release the attachment of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Patients are then instructed to complete oral exercises to re-train the tongue and mouth.

Treatment benefits for children and adults can be astounding. They may include reduction or elimination of air way disorders, such as sleep apnea, reduction of facial and dental deformities, and relief from headaches and TMJ pain.

RESOURCES: Drfeder.com • Mayoclinic.org • Tonguetie.net

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