Is Tongue-Tie Surgery Necessary for Kids?

Is Tongue-Tie Surgery Necessary for Kids?

Dec 01, 2022

Is your baby struggling to breastfeed? They might have a tongue tie. Tongue-tie or ankyloglossia happens when the strip of the connective tissues that connect the tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter or thicker than average. This trip of connective tissue is called the lingual frenulum or simply frenum.

A shorter or thicker frenum holds the tongue down, limiting its movements and making it harder for a baby to suck or breastfeed normally. Tongue-tie affects about 10% of babies, and it’s common in boys. Its symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Some babies with the condition might not even experience any problems.

Common signs and symptoms of tongue-tie to watch out for include:

  • A shorter tongue that doesn’t stick out widely
  • A heart-shaped tongue
  • A tongue that looks like it’s pulled downward in the center when lifted
  • A tongue that can’t touch the roof of the mouth
  • Difficulty latching when breastfeeding
  • Constant hunger
  • Breastfeeding for long periods
  • Trouble gaining weight
  • A clicking sound when breastfeeding
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty licking ice cream
  • Difficulty moving the tongue from side to side, up, or out
  • Speech difficulties

A breastfeeding mother can experience the following:

  • Pain when nursing
  • Cracked or sore nipples






















































































  • Insufficient milk supply

Speak to your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect your child might have a tongue tie. A lactation consultant or pediatrician can help diagnose tongue tie in infants. Dentists in 11021 can also diagnose the condition in older children and adults.

What causes Tongue-tie?

During fetal development, the tongue fuses to the floor of the mouth. Over time, the tongue gradually separates from the floor as the fetus develops. Only a thin strip or membrane of tissues (frenum) connect the tongue to the mouth floor by birth. As the baby grows, the frenum further shrinks and thins. In some babies, the frenum doesn’t shrink, causing tongue-tie.

Is Tongue-tie Surgery Necessary?

Surgery is the most common solution for correcting tongue-tie in kids. However, some experts don’t recommend surgery. For instance, surgery may not be necessary if your child doesn’t experience problems with breastfeeding, speaking, and swallowing.

However, if your child has trouble feeding and other symptoms, tongue-tie surgery may be the best remedy to correct the lingual frenulum. Your healthcare professional will diagnose your kid’s condition to determine whether surgery is the best action.

Fortunately, some procedures are less invasive and often performed without sedation on infants. General anesthesia may be necessary for complex surgeries. After surgery, regular exercises and stretching might be necessary to prevent the condition from reoccurring.

According to studies, surgery showed significant improvements in baby’s who had tongue-tie. Common benefits of tongue-tie surgery include:

  • Improved feeding
  • Baby can feel better
  • A kid can gain weight more quickly after surgery
  • Prevent nipple pain or sores when breastfeeding
  • Prevent future oral problems
  • Improved speech

Visit our dental office for tongue-tie functional release surgery in Great Neck, NY.

What Happens When Tongue-tie Isn’t Treated?

When you don’t treat moderate to severe cases of tongue-tie, it can cause other problems like:

  • Poor feeding, leading to malnourishment or poor weight gain
  • Speech problems which can cause problems learning at school and self-confidence issues
  • Difficulties eating certain foods and items like ice cream

Types of Tongue-tie surgery

There are different types of tongue-tie surgeries, including:

  • Frenotomy. The surgery involves cutting or snipping the frenum to free the tongue. The baby should be able to breastfeed right after surgery. However, it might take a few days to heal completely.
  • Tongue-tie laser surgery. Instead of using a scalpel or knife, the surgeon uses a laser to free the tongue. The laser promotes faster healing and less bleeding.
  • Tongue-tie electrocautery. The surgery is similar to frenotomy but uses heat or electricity to heal.
  • The surgery entails cutting and reattaching the frenum with sutures. The procedure is more complex and requires general anesthesia.

Possible side effects or risks of tongue-tie surgery include:

  • Scarring
  • Bleeding
  • Damaged tongue muscles
  • Inability to feed
  • Breathing problems
  • Infection and swelling
  • Injured or damaged salivary glands

Schedule an Appointment Today

Would your kid benefit from tongue-tie surgery in Great Neck, NY? Contact Great Neck Dental Associates for more information.

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