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Tongue Ties

What are tongue ties?

Tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition in which the tissue connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is tighter or shorter than usual. This condition can affect infants and children, and pediatric surgery may be performed to address it.

What causes tongue ties?

The exact cause of tongue tie is not well understood. However, it may occur due to genetic factors or abnormal development during fetal development. In some cases, it may be associated with certain syndromes or genetic conditions.

What are the symptoms of tongue ties?

Tongue tie can present with various symptoms, which may include:

  • Difficulty sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth or moving it from side to side.

  • Difficulty lifting the tongue to touch the roof of the mouth.

  • Trouble with breastfeeding or latching onto the nipple.

  • Speech difficulties, such as difficulty pronouncing certain sounds or a lisp.

  • Potential impact on oral hygiene, as the restricted movement may make it harder to clean the mouth properly.

How to treat tongue ties?

The treatment of tongue tie in paediatric surgery can involve different approaches, depending on the severity of the condition and its impact on the child. 

Treatment options may include:

  • Observation: In some cases, a wait-and-see approach is taken, as mild cases of tongue tie may resolve on their own as the child grows.

  • Frenotomy/Frenuloplasty: This is a simple surgical procedure that involves snipping or releasing the tight or short frenulum (the tissue causing the tongue tie) with a scalpel or laser. The procedure is typically quick and performed without anesthesia or with a local anesthetic.

  • Frenuloplasty/Frenulectomy: In some cases where the tongue tie is more significant or complex, a surgical procedure may be performed to reshape or remove the frenulum under general anesthesia. This allows for greater freedom of tongue movement.

  • Speech Therapy: In addition to or instead of surgical intervention, speech therapy may be recommended to help improve speech and oral motor function in cases where tongue tie has affected speech development.

It's important to note that the decision to proceed with surgical intervention for tongue tie in peadiatric patients should be made in consultation with a paediatric doctor. They will evaluate the specific circumstances of the child's condition, consider the impact on feeding and speech, and provide appropriate treatment recommendations based on their expertise and the individual situation.

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