Tongue-tie, medically known as ankyloglossia (comes from the Greek words “ankylos” meaning stiffening and “glossa” for tongue, literally, “stiff tongue”), is fairly common, occurring in 4% to 10% of the population. The inheritance pattern is not known, although it may be related to the MTHFR gene. Tongue-tie is usually not associated with any other syndromes. Many times, it may not be diagnosed until the patient reaches childhood. If parents do not notice any problems with sucking, latching, or feeding, it may be recognized as the child learns to speak. Speech problems, especially articulation of the lingual sounds, such as l, r, t, d, n, th, sh, and z may be noticeable in older children with tongue-tie. A tongue-tie may also be diagnosed visually, when the child fully sticks out their tongue. Instead of a smooth round edge, a “V shape” is seen on the front edge of the tongue. If there are problems with sucking, latching, or feeding, ankyloglossia can be diagnosed in the newborn.

In the newborn, tongue-tie is correctable with a simple procedure involving the band connecting the tongue to the floor of mouth. This band, connecting the tongue to the floor of mouth, is called a frenulum (from the Latin word “frenulum” meaning any tissue that secures or restricts the motion of a mobile organ in the body), and the procedure is called “frenotomy,” “frenectomy,” or “frenuloplasty.” Occasionally, the upper lip also has a band connecting the upper lip to the gum. This can prevent full upper lip motion, and this band can be corrected at the same time. Results of studies show that frenuloplasty is effective at improving sucking, latching, continuation of breast feeding, and improving nipple pain in the mother. No serious adverse events have been reported with the procedure as long as it is done correctly.

Dr. Liu is a Fellowship trained Pediatric ENT and corrects tongue-ties in children and newborns of all ages. The medical office is equipped with dedicated nursing rooms, including rocking chairs, to facilitate nursing and bottle feeding mothers. We also provide lactation consultation services from our highly recommended certified lactation consultants during tongue-tie patient appointments. It is the philosophy of the practice to allow each mother of a young child the ability to have a complete and comfortable feed following the procedure.

Prior to arriving to your appointment:

If you have medical insurance for your child:
Please verify with your medical insurance provider that your child has been added to your insurance policy. This does not occur automatically upon birth. If your child has not been enrolled please contact your human resources department immediately. However, coverage for services may be limited, thus resulting in denial of payment with the patient taking full financial responsibility for services. Payment is due in full at the time of service. If your medical insurance covers all or a portion of the service we will reimburse the patient accordingly.


For more information on our services, call our office to make an appointment.
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