Brisbane Baby Tongue Tie Dentist

Symptoms of Tongue-Tie in Infants

Tongue-tie in infants can manifest through various signs:

  1. Feeding Difficulties: Struggling to latch during breastfeeding, prolonged feeding times, or frequent feeding.
  2. Reduced Tongue Mobility: It is difficult to lift the tongue to the upper teeth or move it from side to side.
  3. Speech Issues: Delayed speech development or articulation difficulties (more observable in older infants).
  4. The gap between the Lower Front Teeth is caused by the frenulum pulling the gum.
  5. Clicking Sound: During feeding, clicking can indicate improper latch due to restricted tongue movement.

Criteria for Tongue-Tie Surgery

Surgery, typically a frenotomy or frenuloplasty, is considered when:

  1. Feeding Problems: Persistent difficulties in breastfeeding impact the infant’s weight gain or mother’s comfort.
  2. Speech Impairment: Potential or actual speech issues in older infants.
  3. Oral Hygiene Concerns: Difficulty cleaning the mouth due to restricted tongue movement.
  4. Dental Development Issues: Impact on the development or alignment of teeth.

Factors for Surgical Decision

Healthcare professionals consider several factors:

  1. Severity of Restriction: Assessed by examining the tongue's range of motion and the frenulum's attachment.
  2. Impact on Feeding and Growth: Key concern especially in newborns and infants.
  3. Overall Health of the Infant: General health and any medical conditions that might affect surgery or anaesthesia.

Treatment Options for Tongue-Tie:

Surgical Approaches:

  1. Frenotomy: A simple cut to release the frenulum, often done without anaesthesia in very young infants.
  2. Frenuloplasty: More complex than frenotomy, often used for severe cases or older children, possibly requiring anaesthesia.

Non-Surgical Approaches:

  1. Feeding Therapy: Lactation consultants can offer techniques and positions to improve feeding.
  2. Speech Therapy: For older infants, especially if speech development is affected.

Age Limit or Optimal Age for Surgery

There's no strict age limit for tongue-tie surgery, but:

  1. Early Infancy: Often preferred for simpler procedures like frenotomy to alleviate feeding problems.
  2. Older Children May require more complex procedures; speech and dental issues become more relevant.

Surgery Effectiveness and Age:

  • Younger Infants: Procedures tend to be simpler and recover quicker.
  • Older Children May face more complex procedures and recovery, focusing on speech therapy.

Normal Frenulum vs. Tongue-Tie

  • Normal Frenulum: Allows for adequate tongue movement for feeding, swallowing, and speech.
  • Tongue-Tie: Appears as a tight, thick, or short frenulum restricting tongue movement.

When to Seek Tongue-Tie Assessment

  • Persistent Feeding Issues: Especially if affecting weight gain or causing pain during breastfeeding.
  • Limited Tongue Movement: If the infant struggles with tongue movement or exhibits speech delays as they grow.