Tongue-tie is a birth defect that occurs when the strip of skin (lingual frenulum) that connects an infant’s tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter than usual. Typically, this strip of skin separates before birth, which allows the tongue free range of motion. In the case of tongue-tie, the lingual frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue.

Tongue-tie is a fairly common condition that, if addressed quickly, will not hinder a child’s development. However, if left untreated, tongue-tie can result in malnourishment, speech difficulty, or poor oral hygiene.

Signs of tongue-tie include:

  • Restriction of the tongue’s movement, making it harder to breastfeed

  • Difficulty lifting the tongue up or moving it from side to side

  • Difficulty sticking the tongue out

  • The tongue looks notched or heart-shaped when stuck out

Long-term effects of lip/tongue ties

The symptoms may not allows be obvious in infants. But as the child grows some of the symptoms may include:

  • Speech and articulation issues

  • Gaps in between the front teeth 

  • Poor food cleansing 

  • Tooth decay 

  • Aversion to solid foods

Benefits of releasing a lip or tongue tie

The treatment of lip and tongue-ties for infants is a simple surgical procedure called a frenotomy. One of our doctors examines the lingual and lip frenulums and then uses the Biolase Waterlase laser to release the frenulum tissues.

Frenotomy for tongue-tie in older children and adults is similar to that for infants. Speech therapy may also be necessary after the release of the lip/tongue tie.

What to expect at a lip/tongue-tie appointment

We understand how exhausting and frustrating it can be when breastfeeding isn’t going well. For this reason we set aside time in our schedule specifically for lip and tongue tie infants. We do our best to accommodate your schedule and provide relief as soon as possible, in most cases same-day treatment. At your appointment, you can expect a caring and passionate group of knowledgeable dentists that will be happy to answer any of your questions and walk you through every step of the process.  Call us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Holly, Dr. Curtis, or Dr. Iwase. 

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