Tuesday, February 13

What is a tongue-tie?

While it may not result in any major issues, a shorter-than-usual band of tissue may limit tongue movements.

A band of tissue known as the lingual frenulum holds the tongue partially to the front of the mouth. A small frenulum might limit the tongue's range of motion. This is referred to as a tongue tie.

A child with a tongue tie is unable to touch the top of their upper teeth with their tongue when their mouth is open or to extend their tongue past their bottom lip. Their tongue seems to be heart-shaped or notch-shaped when they extend it. A baby's tongue might be knotted if you can't get a finger beneath it, as they don't usually stick out their tongues.

How often do tongue-ties occur?
Tongue ties are common. People's definitions of this condition vary; therefore, it's difficult to pinpoint its actual prevalence. Roughly 8% of infants younger than one-year-old may have a mild tongue tie.

Is having a tied tongue an issue?
It's important to remember that tongue-ties are not always an issue. Many infants, kids, and adults have tongue-ties that don't give them any problems at all.

There are two primary ways in which tongue-ties can lead to issues:

They may make it difficult for some babies to latch on to the mother's nipple, which can lead to nursing issues. Both the mother's nipples and the baby's have pain when feeding due to this. Not every baby with tongue tie experiences it; a good number of them can breastfeed. When a breastfed baby is gaining weight well, gassiness or fussiness is not the result of tongue-ties. Bottle feeding does not provide any difficulties for infants with tongue-ties.

They may result in speech issues. Some kids with tongue-ties could have trouble saying some sounds, like t, d, z, s, th, n, and l. Speech delay is not caused by tongue-ties.
How should you respond if you believe your child or infant has a tongue tie?
See your doctor if you believe that your infant's poor latching is the result of a tongue knot. A baby may not latch onto the breast well for a multitude of reasons. To gain a better understanding of the problem, your doctor should carefully record all past events and examine your infant.

To receive assistance with breastfeeding, you should also see a lactation consultant. This is because there are numerous reasons why babies struggle to latch on, and with the correct care and assistance, many kids with tongue ties can nurse effectively.

If you believe that your child's difficulties pronouncing words could be related to a tongue knot, consult your physician. It just takes some time for many kids to pick up specific sound pronunciations. To be sure that tongue-tie is not the issue, it is also a good idea to get a speech-language pathologist's assessment.

What can I do about a tongue tie?
When necessary, a frenotomy—a surgical incision—can be used by a physician to relieve a tongue tie. A frenotomy can be performed with a laser or by just cutting the frenulum.

Still, there's no need to take any action regarding a tongue tie that isn't producing issues. Even though a frenotomy is a relatively simple operation, problems like bleeding, infection, or trouble feeding can occasionally happen. For this reason, doing it merely to avoid issues later on is never a wise idea. Only in situations where the tongue tie is obviously causing problems should the operation be considered.

It is also vital to understand that removing a tongue tie does not usually solve the problem, particularly when nursing. Research indicates that not all moms or newborns will clearly benefit from it. For this reason, consulting with a breastfeeding specialist is essential before choosing a frenotomy.

A frenotomy should be considered if a newborn with a tongue tie is not gaining weight and is not latching effectively, despite significant help from a breastfeeding expert. If it is carried out, it ought to be done quickly and by a professional with the necessary training.

What other information about tongue-tie procedures should parents be aware of?
A lot of doctors are ready to prescribe frenotomy even if the evidence for their advantages is unclear. If your child is being advised to have one, inquire about it:

Verify the precise reasoning behind the recommendation.
Find out whether there are any other choices, such as waiting.
Seek advice from another medical professional or speak with other members of your child's care team.

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