Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia)

What is Tongue tie? Paediatrician

Tongue-tie or ankuloglossia is a medical condition found among new-born babies in which the bottom of the tongue is joined to the base of the mouth with a thin strand of tissue (frenulum). This attachment restricts tongue movement and hence the name. Ranging from mild to severe in intensity, in this condition, an infant faces restriction in sideways movement of the tongue and inability to touch the roof of the mouth.

Problems faced by baby:

This depends on severity of tongue-tie. If it is mild, baby does not face any problems. If its severe;

– The infant faces problems while attaching its mouth to the breast and suck in air while feeding. They may make a clicking sound while feeding and because the effort in sucking milk is increased, they soon get tired of feeding. This eventually results in little or no weight gain.

– The infant may face problems in speech, dentition and development of mouth in later life.

Problems faced by mother:

Since baby cannot latch on breast properly, mother can experience nipple pain, cracked and sore nipples, or low milk supply while breastfeeding a baby suffering from this condition.

When do we require surgery for tongue tie?

In case tongue tie is severe and causing above mentioned problems, a minor surgery is required to release it.  In this procedure the thin membrane under the tongue is removed using a pair of scissors to allow free movement. It does not cause much blood loss and seldom leads to any complications.

Paediatrician The baby can be discharged within couple of hours after surgery and can breastfeed immediately after the procedure. A significant difference in hassle-free breastfeeding can be noticed after this surgery. For the first few days a small white area under the tongue can be seen which is completely normal. One must contact the doctor without delay in case there is bleeding or pain in the operated area.

So, in case you experience pain during feeding or baby is not growing well and finding difficult to feed – think of tongue tie.

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