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Oral Health Made Simple: Your Prescription For Knowledge
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Step 1 Prevent ProblemsSimplestepsPrevent Problems
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Ankyloglossia

space placeholder.space placeholder
space placeholder.What Is It?.
space placeholder.Symptoms.
space placeholder.Diagnosis.
space placeholder.Expected Duration.
space placeholder.Prevention.
space placeholder.Treatment.
space placeholder.When To Call a Professional.
space placeholder.Prognosis.
space placeholder.Additional Info.
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space placeholder.What Is It?
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Ankyloglossia is more commonly known as tongue tie. A fold of tissue called a frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. In many people with tongue tie, the fold is too large. In others, it is normal sized but has grown in a way that restricts the tongue.

Most cases of ankyloglossia are mild. They do not need to be treated. In some cases, the problem can make it hard for people to speak or eat. Sometimes the frenum pulls the gum tissue away from the back of the lower teeth.

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space placeholder.Symptoms
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Most tongue ties are not noticed until a child is 12 to 18 months old. That's because symptoms usually are related to speech. A child with tongue tie who is learning to speak may have problems making certain sounds. Sometimes parents notice the problem when they brush a child's teeth. It may be difficult to move the tongue out of the way of the teeth.

Some children may say that their tongue hurts. This can happen when the tongue tries to move, but can't. Then the frenum becomes sore.

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space placeholder.Diagnosis
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Ankyloglossia can easily be seen during a dental exam. A pediatrician, nurse or other health care professional also may notice tongue tie. A speech therapist might notice the problem when evaluating a child's speech.

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space placeholder.Expected Duration
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Ankyloglossia is present at birth. It may not cause your child any problems. In this case, you can wait to see if it improves over time.

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space placeholder.Prevention
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There is no way to prevent this condition.

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space placeholder.Treatment
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Tongue tie is treated with a simple surgery called a frenectomy. The surgery removes the extra tissue. A dentist or oral surgeon usually does the surgery. It also may be done by a physician who specializes in ear, nose and throat surgery, or a plastic surgeon.

The surgery is usually done with a scalpel. A laser also can be used. The surgery is done in an office, not a hospital. The dentist or physician will use local anesthesia to numb the area. Your child also may receive sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Stitches usually are not needed. The area heals quickly. Few children have any pain afterward.

At first, the tongue may still not move freely. The muscles need time to adapt. A few children have such severe tongue tie that they need more complex surgery.

After a frenectomy, your child may need to visit a speech therapist. He or she will learn exercises to improve the tongue's range of motion and minimize scarring.

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space placeholder.When To Call a Professional
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Call your doctor or dentist if you note that your child has difficulty with speech or swallowing solid food.

After the surgery, call your doctor if your child has bleeding, infection, numbness or lasting pain.

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space placeholder.Prognosis
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The outlook for ankyloglossia is excellent after surgery. Occasionally, the tongue still does not move freely, even after several months. Then, the surgery may need to be repeated.

Sometimes other problems besides ankyloglossia are causing speech difficulties. These problems will need to be addressed before speech will improve. However, if ankyloglossia is the only cause of speech problems, the problems almost always go away after surgery.

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space placeholder.Additional Info
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American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
211 E. Chicago Avenue
Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60611-2637
Phone: 312-337-2169
Fax: 312-337-6329
www.aapd.org

American Dental Association
211 E. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
Phone: 312-440-2500
Fax: 312-440-2800
www.ada.org

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