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Some kids are born with a tight connection between the bottom of their tongue and the inside of their lower front teeth that is commonly called tongue-tied, or technically called ankyloglossia.

Newborn babies will sometimes be so tongue-tied that they cannot suckle and need it clipped near birth so they can feed.  Most people are not that bad and get by fairly well although some people believe that speech is affected.

My son was mildly tongue-tied but I never thought much about it and had not considered getting it clipped until a Portland periodontist friend clipped it for him during a minor gum surgery.  This procedure is called a frenulectomy.

This simple procedure was very eye-opening for both my son and for me.  Since he had never been able to move his tongue much, he was never aware of how much easier it would be to lick his lips, clean his teeth with his tongue, or do a myraid of other things until he experienced it.

After my son’s experience, I have encouraged many more parents to consider this procedure.

Frenulectomy Procedure:

  1. Taking ibuprofen, if possible, before any oral surgery is very helpful
  2. A powerful topical anesthistic is placed under the tongue
  3. A local anesthestic is injected into the tongue
  4. A scalpal blade, an electrosurgical tip, or a laser tip cuts the attachment
  5. sutures are often not needed
  6. Continue to take ibuprofen regularly for 2 – 3 days
  7. Canker sore medicine is applied to exposed cut tissue for several days
  8. The tongue heals in about a week

If your child has this problem, discuss the possibilities with your doctor or dentist.