Tongue-tie (tethered oral tissue) is a major concern of parents and for good reason. When an infant has tethered oral tissue, it can prevent them from getting the nutrition they need and suffer from developmental problems. Without treatment, these patients can suffer from airway problems and much more that require myofunctional therapy to resolve. At Bite Align in Fort Atkinson, we encourage parents to recognize the symptoms and warning signs of tethered oral tissue so they can get their infant treatment as soon as possible. Otherwise, the infant can develop severe problems down the line.

Happy family play with infant on a bed

What is Tongue Tie in Babies?

For your tongue to function correctly, it needs to move in a full range of motion. The full range of motion is responsible for everything from eating and speaking to the development of the jaw and facial structures. A tongue-tie is when the tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is either too short or tight. This tissue is known as the lingual frenulum needs to be cut to allow for a full range of motion if it’s too short or tight.

The Cause of Tongue-Tie

There isn’t one definite known cause of why infants have tongue-tie or not. Usually, the lingual frenulum will separate from the tongue before the infant is born. It may run in the family. The only fact known is that boys are three times more likely to have tongue-tie than girls.

Symptoms of Tongue-Tie in Infants

One of the most common symptoms of tongue-tie in infants is problems with breastfeeding or feeding in general. Most parents will notice that their baby:

  • Doesn’t latch well
  • Chews more than sucks
  • Is fussy during feeding time
  • Makes a clicking noise when feeding
  • Always seems hungry
  • Feeds for a long period, takes a short break, and then feeds for another long period
  • Doesn’t gain weight as expected

In addition to these symptoms, mothers often experience breast pain after feeding. They may also have cracked or sore nipples.

  • Parents can also look for these other symptoms in their baby:
  • Can’t stick tongue out past gums
  • Can’t reach the roof of their mouth with tongue
  • Has a tongue with a V shape or heart shape at the tip when sticking out
  • Can’t move the tongue from side to side very far

Treating Tongue Tie

At Bite Align, we can treat your infant for tongue-tie. We will first give your baby a thorough examination to ensure tongue-tie is the cause. If we confirm it is the cause, we will numb your baby up so they don’t feel anything, and then use our dental laser – LightScalpel CO2 Soft Tissue Laser, to perform the procedure. Once we release the tongue tie, your child should have a complete range of motion and resolve all breastfeeding problems.

If you suspect your child has a tongue-tie, please contact our Fort Atkinson dental office to learn more about tethered oral tissue treatment. Please call (920) 563-7323 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.