Ankyloglossia or tongue-tie is a condition which restricts tongue movements. It is a congenital condition, which means that is present at birth. The tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth with a band of tissue or thin membrane known as the lingual frenulum, which is seen underneath the tongue tip. A person with ankyloglossia will have a short, thick or tight lingual frenulum that restricts tongue movements. Tongue-tie is usually seen in children.
The lingual frenulum gets separated before birth and in some cases that do not happen, which leads to a tongue tie. The exact cause for this is still unknown.
Adults or children with ankyloglossia may experience the following:
- Restricted tongue movements
- Difficulties in speech
- Feeding difficulties
- A notched tongue tip when it is stuck out
Ankyloglossia or tongue-tie is mostly diagnosed by a paediatrician through physical examination.
There are no known preventive measures for tongue-tie. Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to a successful recovery.
Treatment may not be required in cases where the tongue-tie does not cause any severe problems regarding feeding, swallowing or speech.
- In some cases, the lingual frenulum may loosen on its own over time.
- In some cases, the condition persists without any symptoms as mentioned above.
- In cases where tongue tie is severe enough to be removed, it is done through a surgical procedure.
- Frenotomy: it is a quick procedure done without anaesthesia in which the doctor uses sterile scissors to cut or snip the frenulum.
- Frenuloplasty: it is a procedure done under general anaesthesia using surgical tools. This is recommended if additional repair is required or if the lingual frenulum is too thick.
- Speech therapy might be required after the surgery to enhance tongue movements and to reduce speech difficulties. Speech therapy is also required in less severe cases, with minimal speech problems where surgery is not required.
- A lactation consultant can assist you in breastfeeding techniques in case of infants with feeding problems.
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