Ankyloglossia, colloquially called tongue-tie, is an oral condition involving the tongue and the floor of the mouth. It presents itself from birth and affects almost 5% of newborn babies.
Our tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth via a thin band of tissue called the frenum. In tongue tie, the frenum shortens and thickens, which restricts tongue movement giving rise to various symptoms. In some cases, a tongue-tie may not be as severe to cause any problems; however, when it does, a frenectomy is advised to treat the condition and prevent further complications. So, how can you tell if your child has a tongue tie? Read ahead as we elaborate on this crucial topic.
5 signs that suggest your baby may have a tongue-tie
1) PROBLEMS WITH BREASTFEEDING
One of the first tell-tale signs of a tongue tie is problematic breastfeeding. Due to restricted tongue movement, your baby won't be able to move their lips and tongue in a normal pattern. It makes the action of sucking on the nipple difficult and, in some cases, impossible. This may lead to longer periods of breastfeeding; however, they may still be hungry and lose weight. This makes the baby fussy and cranky and also discourages the mother.
Tongue-tie makes breastfeeding painful even for the mother. The nipples can get damaged and become sensitive. At times, the milk ducts can even get blocked, leading to engorged, painful breasts and reducing milk output.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is possible your baby has a tongue tie and needs the immediate attention of a frenectomy dentist.
2) EATING DIFFICULTIES
As the tongue cannot fold or stick out properly, it leads to problems with swallowing and eating. If not treated during childhood, problems associated with tongue ties may carry forward until adulthood till a frenectomy is performed.
3) SPEECH IMPEDIMENTS
Since the tongue cannot move in a full range of motion, various speech impediments can develop. If your child is learning to speak and has difficulties pronouncing or has a lisp, it may signal a tongue tie. This has devastating effects on the child as they find it challenging to communicate their needs and emotions. Consult our board-certified pediatric dentist today to get tongue-tie treated and prevent this complication.
4) SLEEP ISSUES
Ankyloglossia causes the tongue to sit lower in the mouth than usual, which leads to mouth breathing. In severe cases, it can also cause sleep apnea and disturbed sleep. This leads to irritability and affects growth. If you notice that your child has poor sleeping patterns or is mouth breathing, they may have a tongue tie. In such situations, frenectomy becomes essential. Your frenectomy dentist will perform minor surgery to release the tie and fix the frenum in a more neutral position to allow a proper and full range of motion.
5) SPACE BETWEEN UPPER FRONT TWO TEETH
When the upper frenum is placed in a more forward position, it can cause a gap between the upper two front teeth. In such cases, the frenum has to be cut, and braces may be needed to ensure the gap closure.
If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, please schedule an appointment with us at Pearly Whites Pediatric Dentistry. If you have any questions or want to know more about our services, please reach out to us. Our team of friendly dental professionals is here to assist you and your child to a better oral health.