You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘tongue-tied’ before when used as an expression to describe difficulty speaking on occasion. However, there is a real dental condition known as a tongue tie in Mt. Airy, MD. Medically referred to as ankyloglossia, the tongue tie condition can affect the way babies develop. This can make it difficult for babies to nurse and can stunt the language development of toddlers. If found and treated early on, a tongue tie can be reversed, allowing for easier dental development for your child.
What is a Tongue Tie in Mt. Airy, MD?
Everyone has soft tissue that connects their tongue to the bottom of their mouth. This tissue is called the frenum. There are many situations in which the frenum’s movement becomes restricted. This can make it difficult for your child to properly move their tongue or perform other oral activities. While the exact cause of a tongue tie is uncertain, there are treatment options available to help alleviate the symptoms.
Early Signs of a Tongue Tie
The earlier you discover a tongue tie, the quicker and easier treatment tends to be. The younger we are, the more receptive our bodies are to corrective treatment. This is the same reason that dentists recommend orthodontic treatment for pre-teens and teens. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it may be a good idea to check with your pediatric dentist about your child’s tongue.
- Difficulty nursing or latching
- Clicking or sacking noises when your baby moves their mouth
- Excessive coughing or gagging
- Excessive pain or discomfort when breastfeeding
- Delayed language development
Treatment for a Tongue Tie
Treating a tongue tie requires a relatively simple procedure using a special type of carbon dioxide laser. This laser can remove the restrictions in the soft tissue to provide a wider range of movement for the tongue. Laser dentistry is safe and effective to use on babies and toddlers, and it helps promote quick healing. However, it’s still a medical procedure. To ensure the safety and health of your child, your dentist will need to coordinate with your child’s pediatrician or other medical professional to ensure treatment is smooth and effective.
After Care for Tongue Tie Treatment
It’s natural for your child to experience some minor swelling in their mouth after treatment. You may notice signs of discomfort in your baby for the first 24-48 hours. If your child continues to show signs of distress, contact your doctor or dentist.
The soft tissue under your child’s tongue will have a small, noticeable wound for several days. During the first few days, you will notice a dark yellow appearance around the affected area. After about two days, you will likely notice a yellowish film begging to form over the wound. This is a natural part of the healing process and should not be a cause for alarm. If discoloration and bruising persist for longer than a week, you should contact your dentist for a follow-up appointment.
If your child suffers from a tongue tie, contact Mt. Airy Children’s Dental Associates at (301) 781-5337 to schedule an initial consultation.