Tongue tie is when the bottom of the tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth. When a child is tongue-tied, they have a short or tight frenulum, which is the tiny piece of skin that connects the bottom jaw to the lower lip.
A very common problem for babies, tongue tie makes it difficult for the tip of the tongue to move freely and often interferes with the baby’s ability to latch, breastfeed, or bottle feed. Mobility of the front of the tongue is also important for functions like speech and maintenance of oral hygiene. The cause of tongue tie is unknown, although experts believe that genetics might have a role.
The symptoms of tongue tie are similar to a newborn who struggles with breastfeeding:
A mother’s first stop if her baby is not latching or intaking enough nutrition is to speak with an IBCLC certified specialist. Frenotomy is an effective when indicated, but many mothers and babies can benefit from lactation consulting.Learn more about Ogden Clinic’s lactation counseling team here.
Frenotomy, or tongue tie release, is a minimally invasive surgery that cuts the lingual frenulum. During this procedure, the tongue is held up toward the roof of the mouth, making it very tight and thin. Your Ogden Clinic provider then cuts the skin that releases the tongue. When it comes to pain, most babies will not require medication. Your provider may demonstrate aftercare stretches that can be done at home to ensure wound healing after the frenotomy appointment.
The baby's tongue moves much more freely immediately after the procedure is completed. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding can become easier for the baby when the tongue is no longer tied, allowing them to latch more efficiently and intake enough nutrition at each feeding.