Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a birth defect in which the tissue
that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth (lingual frenulum) is
too short. This condition may interfere with a child's eating, speech
development, and social interaction.
Many babies with tongue-tie do not have symptoms. The lingual
frenulum may stretch as the child grows or adapts to the tongue restriction.
But some children with tongue-tie have:
Difficulty latching on to the mother's breast
and sucking. (Bottle-fed babies usually do not have feeding problems, because it is easy to get milk from the nipple of a bottle.)
problems because the tip of the tongue cannot rise high enough to make
(articulate) some sounds clearly, such as t, d, z, s, th, n, and
Personal or social problems related to the restricted tongue
movement. The restricted tongue can make it difficult for a child to play a
wind instrument or to clean food off the teeth with the tongue. A child with
tongue-tie may be ridiculed by his or her peers.
Many children with tongue-tie adapt to the tongue restriction or
their lingual frenulum stretches as they grow. Surgery may be needed if a child
has a lot of problems caused by the tongue restriction.
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Chuck Norlin, MD - Pediatrics
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.