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Understanding Tongue-Tie

Tongue-tie, medically known as ankyloglossia, is a condition present at birth that can affect a child’s oral development and feeding abilities. It occurs when the lingual frenulum, the thin strip of tissue connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, is shorter than average. Ideally, this tissue separates before birth to allow free movement of the tongue. However, in cases of tongue-tie, the frenulum’s attachment restricts this movement, potentially leading to challenges in breastfeeding, speech development, and maintaining oral hygiene.

Recognizing the Signs of Tongue-Tie

Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial in managing tongue-tie effectively. Signs that may indicate the presence of tongue-tie include:

  • Difficulty in breastfeeding, due to restricted tongue movement.
  • Challenges with lifting the tongue or moving it side to side.
  • Inability to protrude the tongue past the lower front teeth.
  • A notched or heart-shaped appearance of the tongue when extended.

Comprehensive Treatment Options

The treatment for tongue-tie is a straightforward procedure known as a frenotomy, which can significantly improve the condition’s symptoms. At Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto, we prioritize a gentle approach to this treatment, ensuring the comfort and safety of our young patients.

Infant Frenotomy: For infants, a frenotomy involves a quick snip of the frenulum with sterile scissors or a laser, typically requiring no stitches due to the minimal presence of nerve endings and blood vessels in the area. This procedure is often done with just a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort.

Frenotomy for Older Children: In older children and adults, the procedure is similar but may be performed under general anesthesia and could involve stitches. Post-procedure, speech therapy is often recommended to address any lingering speech difficulties effectively.

The Importance of Expert Care

Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto, led by Dr. Adams and Dr. Jon, understands the unique needs of children with tongue-tie. Our practice is equipped with the latest technology and techniques to perform frenotomies safely and effectively, ensuring your child can achieve optimal oral health and development. Our commitment to compassionate care is supported by guidelines from reputable organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), which advocates for the early assessment and treatment of oral conditions like tongue-tie to promote a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Located at 325 Sharon Park Drive, Suite D3, Menlo Park, CA, our practice is dedicated to providing your child with the best possible care in a warm and welcoming environment. If you suspect your child may have tongue-tie or if you have been referred for a consultation, please contact us at (650) 321-6448. Let us be your partner in navigating your child’s oral health, ensuring they have the foundation for a happy, healthy future.

At Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto, we’re more than just a dental practice; we’re a place where your child’s smile is nurtured through expert care and genuine compassion.

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