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Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition in which an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) tethers the bottom of the tongue's tip to the floor of the mouth. If necessary, tongue-tie can be treated with a surgical cut to release the frenulum (frenotomy).

Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue's range of motion.

With tongue-tie, an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) tethers the bottom of the tongue's tip to the floor of the mouth, so it may interfere with proper breast-feeding, causing fussiness and gassiness in babies, and pain during nursing for moms. Someone who has tongue-tie might have difficulty sticking out his or her tongue. Tongue-tie can also affect the way a child eats, speaks and swallows.

Sometimes tongue-tie may not cause problems. Some cases may require a simple surgical procedure for correction.

Symptoms of Tongue-tie

Signs and Symtoms of tongue-tie include:
•  Difficulty lifting the tongue to the upper teeth or moving the tongue from side to side
•  Trouble sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth
•  A tongue that appears notched or heart-shaped when stuck out

When to See a Dentist

See a dentist if:
•  Your baby has signs of tongue-tie that cause problems, such as having trouble breast-feeding
•  A speech-language pathologist thinks your child's speech is affected by tongue-tie
•  Your child shows signs of sleep-disordered breathing, such as mouth breathing, snoring, or restless sleep
•  Your older child complains of tongue problems that interfere with eating, speaking or reaching the back teeth
•  You're bothered by your own symptoms of tongue-tie


Typically, the lingual frenulum separates before birth, allowing the tongue free range of motion. With tongue-tie, the lingual frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue. Why this happens is largely unknown, although some cases of tongue-tie have been associated with certain genetic factors.

Risk Factors

Although tongue-tie can affect anyone, it's more common in boys than girls. Tongue-tie sometimes runs in families.


Tongue-tie can affect a baby's oral development, as well as the way he or she eats, speaks and swallows. For example, tongue-tie can lead to:
•  Beast-feeding problems. Breast-feeding requires a baby to keep his or her tongue over the lower gum while sucking. If unable to move the tongue or keep it in the right position, the baby might chew instead of suck on the nipple. This can cause significant nipple pain and interfere with a baby's ability to get breast milk. Ultimately, poor breast-feeding can lead to inadequate nutrition and failure to thrive.
•  Speech difficulties. Tongue-tie can interfere with the ability to make certain sounds — such as "t," "d," "z," "s," "th," "r" and "l."
•  Poor oral hygiene. For an older child or adult, tongue-tie can make it difficult to sweep food debris from the teeth. This can contribute to tooth decay and inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). Tongue-tie can also lead to the formation of a gap or space between the two bottom front teeth.
•  Challenges with other oral activities.Tongue-tie can interfere with activities such as licking an ice cream cone, licking the lips, or playing a wind instrument.
•  Sleep-related disordersTongue ties can force the tongue to fall to the back of the throat during sleep, causing snoring , enlarged tonsils, interrupted sleep, and sleep apnea. Over time, the lack of good sleep has been shown to be a factor in ADHD and sensory disorders.

Redmond Kids Dentistry Team Our office provides gentle, painless soft-tissue laser services for the revision of tongue ties. At this time, we primarily work with children age 4 and up. We mindfully work with other specialists, like myofunctional therapists, chiropractors, speech therapists, and occupational therapists to help ensure that the tongue and connected muscles and tissues are working together in harmony. To see and treat patients who had been struggling, later able to breathe, sleep, speak, and function better at home and at school, is truly rewarding. Please ask us your questions about this emerging health care topic.
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16650 NE 79th Street Suite 100, Redmond, WA 98052-4442
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Redmond Kids Dentistry, 16650 NE 79th Street, Suite 100, Redmond, WA 98052 \ (425) 558-4562 \ \ 5/3/2024 \ Page Keywords: pediatric dentist Redmond WA \