Identifying tongue tied infants
Ankyloglossia, or commonly referred to as a “tongue tie“, is a condition seen in newborns when the lingual frenulum (the connecting membrane that supports the tongue) is short. A tongue tied infant can have a moderate to severe issue with their tongue. A severely tongue tied infant is when the frenulum of the child is attached from the tip of the tongue to the lower mandible gum tissue.
Problems related to tongue tied infants
For proper nursing to occur, the infant needs to be able to latch onto the mother’s areola with their upper gum ridge and tongue extended out over the bottom gums. When the infant begins to suckle, the tongue and jaw move forward in a wavelike motion. When a child is tongue tied the tongue can not extend over the lower jaw.
Tongue tied babies often have difficulty breastfeeding as well as bottle feeding. A tongue tied child typically has problems latching onto the breast as well as issues with maintaining suction.
Problems for nursing mothers with tongue tied babies
In addition, splitting of the nipples, ischemia, and greater incidence of mastitis can occur. Many nursing difficulties are correlated to a tongue tie issue.
Correcting tongue tied issues on infants
In cases of lingual frenulum, the frenum is too short, too thick or includes an anterior attachment. The result is decreased mobility due to the lack of pull away from the floor of the mouth in comparison to a tongue with an ordinary frenum. Because of the close proximity of the tongue to the mouth floor the following either does occur or has the potential for occurring.
The physical, aesthetic and social complications resulting from tongue tie that can be aided with dental laser procedures are as follows.
Laser dentistry plays a role in many ailments including those caused by the physical, social and aesthetic consequences of the tongue tie issue, which dental lasers are often used to treat. Tongue tie arises from the ill positioning of the frenum, the connective tissue between the tongue and the foundation of the lower mouth.
A simple snip of the connecting membrane under the tongue with a micro scissor is all that is needed to correct the problem. There is little or no feeling in this area for the infant during the first 6 months of age. Since ankyloglossia or tongue tie is a hereditary issue, it is common for siblings to have the same problem.
When a frenum does not function normally, it is because it either does not live up to or oversteps its’ original purposes: stabilizing and eliminating unnecessary movement of the organ to which it is attached. When ill positioning occurs, the small tissue is termed frenulum and the corrective surgery is a frenectomy, or more specifically, a lingual frenectomy in cases of the tongue.
With an open mouth, the tip of the tongue does not reach the tip roof of the mouth when the reach is attempted.
Protrusion of the tongue past the lower gums is unlikely.
When the tongue is pushed outward with the mouth open, the middle of the tongue displays a bulbous portion of tissue which has the appearance of a heart.
Functional … Teeth Development, Speech & More:
Feeding issues occur in approximately 25 % of infants as the tongue issues may prevent normal latching onto the nipple. Clearing food from specific portions of the mouth can become an issue in later adulthood.
Gingiva or gum recession is another possibility which may become clear as the child grows into early pre-teen years. Mandibular diastema, gapped teeth, can also occur.
When the range of tongue movement is reduced and the ability to mimic and form word sounds is affected, speech can be negatively affected.
In rare cases where the tongue is visible, awkward social situations can ensue during tongue display.
Many authorities estimate that the severity of this condition reduces over time when the frenum abnormality is present at birth, which would reduce the likelihood of dramatic instances of many of the above issues.
Another complication of tongue tie is incomplete teeth development which also may contribute to a growing adult’s social life. This is in addition to its’ causing further health complications with food debris, specifically potential infection and plaque arising from improper clearing of food from tissues, teeth and the oral cavity.
Gaps and gum recession associated with tongue tie can alter appearance and affect self esteem or personal interactions.