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Tongue-tie or Ankyloglossia in children is a condition present at birth. Normally, the lingual frenulum separates before birth, giving the tongue free range of motion. With Ankyloglossia, the lingual frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue. No one is sure why this happens and although it can affect anyone, it’s more common in boys than girls.
For some children, it is not an issue. For others, it can lead to breastfeeding, eating and speaking diorders.
Signs of tongue-tie:
The most common sign of tongue-tie is the inability to stick out the tongue more than a few millimeters past the lower gums. Sometimes the child is not able to move the tongue side-to-side or the tongue appears heart shaped or notched when stuck out.
Tongue tie and breastfeeding:
When the tongue is restricted, the baby tends to “chew” instead of suck on the nipple. This can cause significant nipple discomfort to the mother and interfere with the baby’s ability to feed. Over time, poor breast-feeding can lead to inadequate nutrition, failure to thrive, a very unhappy baby and very stressed-out parents.
Tongue tie and long-term affects:
Tongue-tie can affect an infant’s oral development, delaying speech. It can also affect the way they eat and swallow, making it hard to introduce solids.
As babies grow into children the areas of difficulty spread to include social and home situations, self-esteem, school environment, and oral health. Meaning, a tongue tie does not fix itself. In fact, disorders like sleep apnea, bed wetting, dry mouth and heart disease have been linked to unrepaired tongue tie.
Tongue tie and speech impediments:
When the frenulum is short and tight it restricts the tongues movement. This doesn’t affect the ability to learn to speak, but it can impact the pronunciation of certain letters such as th, n, s, t and l.
Treatment for tongue tie:
The most common treatment for tongue tie is a surgery called a lingual frenuloplasty. Dr. Abeyta, in Albuquerque, uses this technique. It is based on precision; releasing the appropriate amount of tissue for maximal relief – not too much, and not too little.
Alongside surgery, Dr. Abeyta integrates myofunctional therapy, and sometimes craniosacral therapy, both before, during, and after surgery. Addressing the compensatory muscular and joint tension through manual therapy can significantly help optimize rehabilitation in cases of tongue tie.
For more information call (505) 293-7611 – the best albuquerque dentists!