Baby Matters

Baby Matters: Learning More About Tongue-Ties

Doctor Anita Gouri is a board certified pediatric dentist at Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Gouri specializes in detecting and treating tongue-ties, “Everybody has a little string underneath their tongue that connects it to the floor of their mouths. A tongue-tie is when that string is too short or too anterior, almost at the tip of the tongue and it should be way in the back.” Dr. Gouri explained a tongue-tie can cause quite a few issues for a child if it is not corrected, “That can prevent proper movement and elevation of the tongue which can restrict things like breastfeeding or even bottle feeding, speech and proper breathing.”
The procedure to correct a tongue-tie isn’t as invasive as you may think, “They used to have to put you to sleep or just clip with scissors in the hospital. Now, I have a laser actually that does the procedure for you and you don’t have to put the baby to sleep and you don’t have to do any kind of special suturing or wound care because the laser cauterizes as it goes.” She said there’s minimal to no bleeding. Dr. Gouri explained she did receive extra training to learn more about tongue-ties. She said sometimes a tongue-tie can be hard to detect which is why she recommends seeking out a trained provider, “This is a tongue-tie, but you don’t see any obvious string. This baby was actually told there’s no tongue-tie, but they were brought to me because the mom had continuous problems breastfeeding. She did not have problems breastfeeding her older child so she knew something was wrong. I got in there and lifted up the tongue and boom this string popped out.”
Dr. Gouri said when it comes to your baby there are a few signs that may indicate your child has a tongue-tie.”If the tongue can not elevate towards the palette it can not make a seal around the nipple whether it’s a real nipple or a bottle. They’ll swallow a lot of air, they won’t be able to latch properly, they’ll have a lot of spitting up and gas and colic and reflux sometimes.” She explained that toddlers may have speech issues, “A lot of my tongue-tied older patients like toddlers have problems pronouncing whatever sound requires the front or the middle of the tongue to elevate such as r, th, ch, tuh, luh and different things.”
If your child does have a tongue tie, Dr. Gouri said it should be treated as soon as possible. She said there are some people who have tongue-ties and function without any issues, but she still recommends getting a functional assessment.