A short lingual frenulum (tongue-tied) is a minor defect of the mouth that decreases the mobility of the tongue. This band of tissue helps anchor the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If this band is too short, the tongue may not be able to touch the roof of the mouth, resulting in speech problems. In newborns, a particularly tight frenulum may result in feeding difficulties. If feeding problems are not present by the time a child is 10 to 12 months old, treatment is usually recommended to ensure speech problems do not occur.
Treatment for a short lingual frenulum consists of a procedure call a frenuloplasty. The procedure requires a brief general anesthetic in an outpatient surgical setting. A vertical incision is made in the frenulum to free the tissue from the floor of the mouth and allow a greater degree of movement of the tongue. Dissolvable stitches are then placed in the incision, which require approximately 1 week to dissolve. There is generally minimal discomfort associated with frenuloplasty. In children, post-operative discomfort may likely be relieved with Children’s Tylenol®. Dr. Jungkeit will examine the patient approximately 6 weeks after the surgery to determine the success of the procedure. In most cases, an immediate difference in tongue movement is noticeable.