Tongue Tie in Babies

Tongue Tie in Babies

Posted by Dr. Alicia Abeyta DDS FAGD on May 11 2021, 12:25 AM

Tongue-tie in babies is a condition at birth that restricts the tongue’s movement.  It happens when the frenulum, a small tag of skin that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth, is too thick or short.  Doctors and lactation consultants now recognize that having a tongue tie can seriously affect breastfeeding and other aspects of developmental growth such as speech, chewing, and swallowing.

Breastfeeding and Tongue Tie

Have you ever seen a baby nurse?  They are like a little bird, widely opening their mouth, latching onto the food source, and using their tongue, in a back-and-forth motion, to extract the milk.  When the tongue is restricted, it can’t efficiently pull out the milk.  The baby will be frantically sucking with little results. 

A tongue-tie in an infant will also affect the mom.  The restricted tongue doesn’t work like a normal tongue.  Instead of long extended motions, it has tiny little movements, which tend to rub on the same area causing rawness and discomfort.  This can also attribute to engorgement, mastitis and plugged milk ducts.

How Do You Fix a Tongue Tie?

A tongue-tie can be treated by snipping or cutting the frenulum. This procedure is referred to as Lingual Frenuloplasty and is very fast and simple.  Don’t let the word “snipping” scare you.  Babies cry very little during the procedure and moms often notice an immediate improvement in their ability to nurse.  

What Happens if Tongue Tie Goes Untreated?

The consequences of an untreated tongue-tie can be many and varied.  For growing infants, it can impact things like:

  • Inability to chew solid foods
  • Persistence of drooling
  • Delayed development of speech
  • Behavior problems
  • Dental problems starting to appear
  • Loss of self-confidence because they feel and sound ‘different’
  • Strong, incorrect habits of compensation being acquired​

If your baby is having difficulty latching or staying attached to your breast and is not gaining the proper weight, consult your doctor or dentist.  They will help you figure out if your baby’s tongue-tie is the culprit and the best course for treatment.  

We are here for you and your family in these challenging times.  Call today to schedule your appointment to find out more about infant tongue tie at (505) 293-7611.

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