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Tongue Tie (ankyloglossia)

The tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is called the lingual frenum or frenulum, and when this tissue physically restricts the mobility of the tongue, it is called a "tongue tie" or "lingual tie" or medically termed "ankyloglossia." Tissues connecting your lips and cheeks to your gums (buccal/labial frenum) may also be restricted, and these are referred to as Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs). The release of these tissues is often recommended for infants having trouble breastfeeding (after a thorough evaluation) and may also be recommended for people of all ages during therapy if necessary. Myofunctional therapy is critical before, during and after tongue release surgeries in order to attain the greatest results and decrease your chances of reattachment. 

There are several names for tongue release surgeries, all of which have the same goal: increasing tongue mobility and improving oral function: "lingual frenotomy," "lingual frenectomy," "lingual frenuloplasty," and "functional frenuloplasty," are becoming more common for adults, as more research is showing the relation of tongue-tie and other chronic health concerns.

Some restricted lingual frenums are very easy to see in the mirror, but sometimes the tie is deep under the tongue and takes a trained eye to detect. This is referred to as a "posterior tongue-tie" which can affect an infant's ability to latch and can play a role in developing TMD, sleep apnea, ADHD and several other health concerns for people of all ages. 

Infants should always be checked for tongue tie and other TOTs if they have difficulty breastfeeding or have GERD symptoms. A successful latch between mother and infant is challenging if not impossible when a tongue-tie is present.  Poor latch causes infants to swallow great amounts of air which can cause excess bloating, vomiting, spit-up and other GERD-like symptoms, in addition to very painful circumstances for the mother. Certified lactation consultants are highly recommended for difficulties with breastfeeding, as successful breastfeeding has countless benefits for the growth and development of your child.

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