Tongue-Tie: Information for Families

When it comes to babies, it's normal to be wary of any behavior or physical change that seems unusual. For most parents who come across tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia, they worry that it's an emergency situation. Rest assured that tongue-tie is not life-threatening, but it can cause complications for your baby when it comes to feeding, swallowing and more. At Pickup Bagshaw Dental, we can safely and swiftly remove and repair the tongue-tie with no harm to your infant.

Signs of Tongue-Tie

Tongue-tie is a thin piece of flesh, also known as a frenulum, that connects your baby's tongue to the bottom of their mouth. However, depending on how far forward the frenulum is towards the tip of the tongue, it can cause problems with chewing, suckling, and speaking.

As your infant grows within the first few weeks, most cases of tongue-tie correct themselves as the mouth shifts in structure. But for those whose tongue-tie doesn't correct itself during growth, there are some signs to watch out for that indicate your baby may have tongue-tie complications.

Does your baby:

  • Frequently break suction during feeding
  • Make clicking noises while feeding
  • Gain weight too slowly
  • Cause you pain during breastfeeding (i.e. chewing instead of sucking on the nipple, etc)
  • Have trouble sticking out their tongue

If you answered yes to one or more of these signs, it could mean that your baby may have tongue-tie. The first step is to visit a lactation consultant or your baby's clinician to confirm that it is tongue-tie your child is afflicted with.

Is Tongue-Tie Dangerous?

Generally, no. So long as the tongue-tie is corrected early on in the infant's life, then your child won't experience the most difficult challenges of living with tongue-tie.

If the tongue-tie is not corrected, it can lead to movement restrictions down the road. Older children with tongue-tie have trouble chewing, licking ice cream, dribbling and begin to develop poor speech as a result. As adults, their speech problems could worsen, along with trouble kissing, social skills, jaw pain and poor dental health.

Tongue-Tie Assessment and Release

At Pickup Bagshaw Dental, we are not a substitute for a clinician's assessment. If your baby's clinician has confirmed that your baby has tongue-tie, then contact us to discuss how we can help correct this problem.

During the procedure, we use a small pair of sterile scissors to release the frenulum. It's normal for a few drops of blood to appear, but, for the most part, the procedure is quick and painless. Your baby may feel startled, but will calm once they are comforted.

Let Us Help with Your Baby's Tongue-Tie

If you've been told by a clinician or lactation consultant that your child has tongue-tie, then contact us at Pickup Bagshaw Dental in Launceston. We are experienced in the correction and release of tongue-tie so that even our youngest patients can have the best chance at a healthy smile. If you would like more information about tongue-tie, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr Pickup, Dr Bagshaw or Dr Hong. We'll be happy to answer your questions.