When you think about taking your child to the dentist, you probably mostly think about their teeth. But the truth is we look at more than just teeth. The gums, cheeks, jaw, and tongue are all elements that we check out during a typical exam. Tongue ties, in particular, are an area in which we have a lot of experience.
What is a Tongue Tie
You have a tiny flap of skin in your mouth called the frenulum. It connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. When that piece of skin is too short or too tight, it can restrict the movement of the tongue. This is what we are talking about when we say tongue tie. This is very common and can happen to anyone. Tongue ties can also be genetic, meaning that they may run in families. If too short or tight, that little piece of skin can cause fairly significant problems with breastfeeding, eating, and speaking. The good news is, there is a really easy solution to fix it.
Tongue and Speech
Our tongues are very important when it comes to forming certain speech sounds. Your tongue pushes against your upper teeth and then moves down to form sounds from letters like “T” and “D.” Say one of those out loud and feel how your tongue moves. When a person has a tongue tie, their tongue may not be able to move in the same way. A few of the common sounds that a tongue tie can affect are:
How do I know if My Child has a Tongue Tie?
The best way to find out if your child has a tongue tie is to come in for a consultation. If you hear your child having difficulty pronouncing the sounds above, it could be possible that they have a tongue tie. In that case, it’s time to come in for a consultation. But it’s important to remember that not all children with tongue ties have speech issues. If your child has trouble breastfeeding, eating, or moving their tongue comfortably, it’s probably best to come have it checked out.
How is a Tongue Tie Treated?
The procedure to treat a tongue tie is really simple. We use a high-precision laser to gently severe the restrictive tissue. The procedure is very quick and causes minimal discomfort. Your child may experience some soreness for a day or two that can be treated with over-the-counter pain medicines. This procedure is called a frenectomy and one of the many services that we specialize in! If you fear that your child may have a tongue tie, it’s no reason to worry. The exam to diagnose a tongue tie and the treatment are both easy and noninvasive. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!