Occasionally, you’ll hear someone say they’re tongue-tied when they can’t find the right words to say or they have a brief lapse in speech. While these moments are harmless for adults, being tongue-tied as a newborn can inhibit vital activities, such as breastfeeding. For those unfamiliar with this condition, tongue-tie is a congenital anomaly that restricts the tongues range of motion.
Everyone is born with a band of tissue that tethers the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. This tissue is called the lingual frenulum, and sometimes, babies are born with one that is unusually short and thick.
As a result, newborns may have trouble moving their tongue and latching during breastfeeding. Regardless if you’re a new or veteran mom, breastfeeding can be quite the challenging endeavor, so when you add tongue-tie into the mix, it just complicates the situation even further.
If you feel your baby is exhibiting signs of tongue-tie, continue reading to learn more about the signs and symptoms of this condition.
Symptoms of Tongue-Tie in Babies
There are certain tell-tale signs a newborn is tongue-tied. Symptoms of this condition often include:
- Difficulty lifting the tongue and moving is side to side
- Problems sticking the tongue out past the lower front teeth
- Tongue may appear notched when stuck out
- Difficulty breastfeeding
As the child gets older, their symptoms may or may not affect them. For older children who complain of problems eating, speaking, or reaching their back teeth with their tongue, it may be best to see an ENT physician or speech pathologist to correct the condition.
Causes and Risk Factors of Tongue-Tie
There is little research directed at the cause of tongue-tie in babies, but experts speculate the condition may be associated with certain genetic factors. Interestingly enough, researchers have also found that tongue-tie is more common in boys than girls. If the condition runs in your family and your newborn is having trouble breastfeeding properly, it may be worth scheduling an appointment with our team to investigate tongue-tie as a possible cause.
Treatment of Tongue-Tie
Some physicians may advise a wait-and-see approach because it is possible for the lingual frenulum to loosen over time. Other physicians may recommend a simple, minimally invasive procedure called a frenotomy, which uses scissors to clip the frenulum. There is little trauma or blood with the procedure and babies can breastfeed immediately afterward.
Talk to your AOC physician today to learn more about the treatment options for newborns with tongue-tie.
Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants (AOC) is a comprehensive ENT clinic that provides care for all diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and sinuses. The physicians at AOC have the highest level of training and expertise in ENT care and ENT subspecialty care, which includes the management of pediatric airway, cancer, skull base surgery, advanced head and neck surgical and reconstructive procedures, craniofacial surgery and more. Call 602-264-4834 to request an appointment today!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.