What Is A Lingual Frenulum?
The lingual frenulum is a small fold of mucous membrane that extends from the floor of the mouth to the midline of the underside of the tongue.
Find your own lingual frenulum by looking in the mirror, opening you mouth, and stretching your tongue towards the palate. See the whitish cord beneath your tongue?
What Exactly Is Ankyloglossia, or Tongue Tie?
Ankyloglossia or tongue tie, is simply a lingual frenulum that is tight enough to restrict the movement of the tongue. It is a congenital oral anomaly caused by an unusually thick, or unusually short, lingual frenulum.
The severity of a tongue tie can range from a slight restriction of tongue movement to completely tethering the tongue to the floor of the mouth!
What Effects Does Ankyloglossia Have On People?
Disrupted and incomplete tongue movement can affect speech, development of the palate and sinuses, eating habits and sleeping patterns.
Infants with tongue ties may have significant trouble properly breastfeeding. Studies have shown that an infant with ankyloglossia can have issues latching, creating suction, staying awake due the extra exertion required and gaining weight.
In addition, mothers with infants who are tongue tied can experience significant pain in their nipples, to the extent that they can become cracked and abscessed.
What Is The Solution For Ankyloglossia?
The procedure to correct ankyloglossia, or tongue tie, is called a frenectomy. There are two types of tools used in frenectomies: scissors and a laser. During the procedure, the lingual frenulum is cut to free up the tongue’s range of motion.
Where Can I Learn More?
See my comprehensive guide on Frenectomy For Infants: Tongue Tied Newborns