Tongue-Tie and its associated worry is not a new topic at Dentistry for Children. However, we have discovered that many young mothers are worrying their child’s resolved tongue-tie will return. Will it grow back?
Tongue Tie Review and Definition
First, let’s look at a good, working definition of the problem. A “tongue-tie,” also called ankyloglossia, is a very common condition that affects newborns. To put it briefly, in this condition, “the lingual frenulum (that band of tissue that connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth) is too restrictive, making it difficult for your infant to move their tongue.”
For young babies, this can present a problem with breast-feeding. So let’s say your baby has one. Dr. King diagnoses it, and with a quick and skilled wave of his Lazer wand, he removes it. Now you might worry, “can a tongue tie come back?” In fact, we have seen parents’ anxiety about this tongue-tie issue in parenting blogs.
Points to Ponder about Tongue Ties
In the first place, let’s look at why the tongue tie happens. Dr. Kevin Donly, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) states, “Tongue ties or lingual frenum anterior attachment occur during growth and development.”
- Some tongue-ties resolve naturally. They just go away.
- Others require surgeries such as a frenotomy or a frenuloplasty.
- In these simple procedures, that band of tissue connecting the tongue to the lower part of the mouth is cut with a scalpel or a laser.
Over the last 20 years, Dr. King has treated many of these cases surgically. Usually, the only question about them is whether to treat the tongue tie or wait and see if the problem persists.
Of course, that decision is up to you and your pediatric dentist. Also, it depends on the seriousness of the symptoms you and your baby are experiencing. Certainly, this is especially true if it interferes with breast-feeding.
By the way, the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood reports, “50 percent of breastfeeding babies with ankyloglossia will not encounter any problems.”
More Notes on the Tongue-Tie
Dr. Kevin Donly says. Tongue-Tie can be surgically treated when a child has difficulty eating or breastfeeding due to the tongue tie (lingual frenum anterior attachment.) “Additionally, the study found that complications of the surgery are rare, and major complications unreported.” In fact, the report featured an encouraging conclusion: “Frenotomy appears to improve breastfeeding in infants with tongue-tie.”
Finding the Tongue-Tie
Your doctor or pediatric dentist finds a tongue-tie through expert visually inspection.
- A Tip-off about tongue-tie is that it elicits breastfeeding problems.
- Statistically, the Tongue-tie distresses only about 5 percent of newborns.
- Another tip-off your baby might have a tongue-tie is a definite clicking sound while breast-feeding
- Likewise, a baby with a tongue-tie might have trouble latching on for breastfeeding.
- Additionally, once latched on, the poor baby might not be able to stay latched on to the breast, due to the tongue-tie. This makes an unhappy feeding experience for mother and child.
Ultimately the tongue tie might cause your baby to have a slow weight gain. He or she might exhibit a constant and unusual hunger.
Searching for the Hidden Tongue-Tie
Not all tongue-ties are obvious. First, know that the medical term for a “hidden” tongue-tie is “posterior tongue tie.”
This contrasts with the more common type of tongue-tie, the more easily seen “anterior tongue tie.”
As you might guess, you find Anterior tongue-ties in the front of the mouth. You find posterior tongue ties in the rear of the mouth. Thus, the little posterior tongue tie can hide within the mucous membranes beneath your baby’s tongue.
Thus, the hidden tongue problem is a more challenging diagnosis. It is not to be made at home alone. “These types of tongue ties are typically located far behind the tip of the tongue, which makes traditional at-home diagnosis quite difficult.” In some cases, we have seen the tongue-tie may not even be visible at all, “even when the entire tongue is lifted, and the entire lingual frenulum is visible.”
Diagnosis and treatment require the keen eye and steady hand of pediatric dentists like Dr. King. And with his non-invasive cold laser wand treatment, it is unlikely the tongue-tie will ever re-attach.
Benefits of Modern Surgical Procedures
In most cases, despite what we here from a lot of mom blogs, the tongue-tie won’t usually grow back. Dr. Kevin Donly states that “Once a tongue tie (lingual frenum anterior attachment) is corrected, it remains in that state.”
And he added, “If an older child has a tongue-tie, it’s likely that it was not noticed or did not need treatment when the child was an infant.
- It’s important to understand that older children with tongue-tie may experience speech difficulties.
- Likewise, the older child might have trouble with eating, and being able to engage in proper oral hygiene.
- We do admit that occasionally tongue ties can reappear, so to speak: Dr. Donly (President, AAPD) stated, “Tongue ties don’t ‘grow back,’ but they may reattach,” So it is logical to check with your pediatric dentist after your baby’s procedure if he or she still suffers from symptoms.
A reattachment most likely won’t happen. We must also remind you in checking for tongue-tie, at Dentistry for Children. Dr. King can check all aspects of your child’s oral development.
There’s security in knowing that the tongue is free to do what it should. And the possibility of this problem is one more reason to bring your toothless little newborn baby to meet Dr. King. He will assure you that all the bones gums, tissues jaws, and throat of your little one are normal and the stage is set for the arrival of those pearly white baby teeth.
Thank you for reading our blog and we hope you will return soon for more news that could affect your child.