Tongue ties are exactly that - they tie the tongue down.
The tongue is attached to the bottom of the mouth by the LINGUAL FRENULUM. This is a short membrane which goes from the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
Many, many children are born with tongue ties that do not cause a problem. But many are born with tongue ties that
1. make breastfeeding really difficult and really sore for mom
2. later cause problems with speech sounds like t,d,n,l,s,sh,th and z.
The signs of tongue tie are
a notched tongue - looks like a little heart shape at the tip of the tongue
lip attached to gum
cannot stick tongue out mouth beyond lower teeth or gum line
The problems with breastfeeding include
flat nipple when mom unlatches
difficulty staying latched
clicking sounds when feeding
difficulty coping with the flow of milk
blisters on the lips
feeds a lot but always hungry or does not gain weight
gets tired during feeding
coughs during feeding
mom's milk doesn't flow
mom has nipple pain
mom has deep breast pain
mom's milk supply is low or slows
A tongue tie must be diagnosed by a professional who knows what they are doing.
There are many doctors and therapists who still believe that breastfeeding itself will help a tongue tie. Others who say that the child will outgrow it. But please, if you think your child has a tongue tie, go get help.
There are 4 classes depending on where the frenulum is attached:
Class 1 - attached to the tip of the tongue
class 2 - attached a bit further behind the tip of the tongue
class 3 - attached near the base of the tongue
class 4 - attached underneath the mucous covering of the tongue - you cannot see this.
Class 1 to 3 are knows as 'anterior ties', and class 4 is a 'posterior tie'.
Why do we like to surgically snip a tongue tie?
Apart from breastfeeding problems, children with tongue ties:
have problems with speech sound articulation
can't kiss (later on!)
can't lick an ice-cream
can't lick lips
cant clean their teeth with their tongue
can't play recorders
can't easily eat all foods
can't easily swallow pills
the hard palate can be high arched - the arch is influenced by the tongue - leading to later problem with teeth
Some frenulums "relax' and the problem resolves by itself
Other don't, so go see your doctor - usually an ENT. And go to an ENT who understands breastfeeding problems!
A doctor can do a frenectomy, a surgical procedure in which a laser or a special scissors releases the tie. This will only be done if it is safe for the bay and if the clinical signs warrant it.
I am NOT a doctor and I am NOT saying all babies must have frenectomies for a tongue tie. I AM saying all babies with a tongue tie must be assessed by the right professional and a MEDICAL decision will be made to snip or not to snip. All Mommies must be listened to and if your doctor is not hearing you, go to another doctor.
Of course there are complications that can arise - your doctor will discuss these with you.
But please do not suffer and let your baby suffer because your doctor does not 'believe in' surgery.