What is a Tongue Tie?

Tongue Tie

What is a Tongue Tie?

A tongue tie is a condition someone is born with that limits their ability to move their tongue. Babies born with a tongue tie have an abnormally short, thick, or tight band of tissue called the lingual frenulum which connects the underside of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. This band then “ties” the tongue in place and can cause issues eating. Tongue ties may run in families and are more commonly found in boys than girls.


In babies, it is often found because they are experiencing problems breastfeeding. Some common signs include:

  • Difficulty latching
  • Slow to gain weight
  • Fussy when feeding
  • Appears to be hungry often
  • Tongue is unable to move side to side
  • Tongue has a V shape or a heart shape at the tip when sticking out

If gone untreated, tongue ties can cause dental malocclusion and poor oral hygiene, speech difficulties, and continued problems eating.

How is it Treated?

There are different forms of treatment depending on the severity of the case. For very mild instances, some care providers may advise to leave it alone and allow the frenulum to loosen over time. If the symptoms persist, there are two procedures your doctor may recommend: a frenotomy or a frenuloplasty.

A frenotomy is a basic procedure that can often be done in your doctor’s office. Since there are few blood vessels or nerve endings, it is done without any numbing or anesthesia. The doctor simply cuts the frenulum so the tongue is able to move normally. After the procedure, the baby can feed normally without discomfort.

If the frenulum is too thick, your doctor may recommend a frenuloplasty instead to cut the tongue tie. This procedure is done under general anesthesia in order to release the frenulum and give the baby relief.

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