Tongue Tie Division

Tongue Tie Division

What is Tongue Tie?

Tongue-tie is a congenital (present at birth) condition that restricts the range of motion of the tongue. It is also called Ankyloglossia. With tongue-tie, there’s a problem with the lingual frenulum. Lingual frenulum is a small stretch of tissue that connects the underside of your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. It might be too short and tight, thick or attached way up near the tip of the tongue.

The tongue needs to be able to reach most parts of the mouth to function efficiently. It needs a full range of motion to make sounds and also to be able to retrieve bits of food from the far corners of the mouth and help to swallow and keep the mouth clean. Tongue-tie may affect the way a child speaks, eats, or swallows.

Tongue-tie is mostly discovered when there are problems in breastfeeding the baby. While breastfeeding, the baby:

  • Cannot latch properly
  • Tends to chew more than suck
  • Seems hungry all the time
  • Makes a clicking sound while feeding
  • Does not gain weight
  • Feeds for long stretches
  • Gets fussy when trying to feed

Apart from difficulties in breastfeeding, the other signs of tongue-tie are:

  • Difficult in moving the tongue from side to side
  • Difficulty in lifting the tongue to the upper teeth
  • Difficulty in sticking out the tongue beyond the lower front teeth
  • When stuck out, the tip of the tongue is heart-shaped or V-shaped

What happens at my child's appointment?

You and your baby will have a 30 minute appointment with our Consultant Paediatrician and Nurse. You have the opportunity to share your concerns around feeding with the Doctor who will also complete a full top-to-toe physical examination of your baby, paying particular attention to assessing for tongue tie. This examination is the same check that is performed routinely at 6 weeks after birth, by your local Paediatrician. The Consultant will discuss with you the best way forward, based on your feeding history, your baby's examination and your wishes.

If you are all agreed that a tongue-tie is present and requires division, the Consultant will explain how this is done, and answer any questions you may have. They will invite you to sign a consent form, to confirm your agreement and understanding.

We will make you comfortable in one of our other clinic rooms, giving you time and privacy to prepare to feed your baby straight after the procedure. One of our Nurses will bring your baby into you as soon as the Consultant is happy with the result of the division, and give you as much support and advice as you feel you need and want whilst establishing feeding. Although it may feel like a long time, you will only be waiting for your baby for a few minutes.

After feeding, the Consultant will check the very small wound site and talk you through successful feeding and support during the next few days at home. You will be given a copy of your consent form along with our leaflet, Tongue Tie Procedure before you leave.

We ask that you bring the following items to your appointment:

  • Your child's Child Health Record (Red Book)
  • A thin blanket or muslin, large enough to swaddle your baby during the procedure
  • Plenty of fluids for mum, if breast-feeding
  • All the equipment for a bottle feed if you have opted not to breast-feed. We have no facilities to prepare feeds, so please make sure to use a temperature-controlled container if you are bringing in a made-up feed or expressed breast milk (EBM) from home.

This information leaflet should be able to answer most of your queries.

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