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When your child's tongue or lips are not functioning properly, they may develop nursing, eating, or speech issues. This is known as tongue-tie -- a common physical condition that often appears during infancy and early childhood.

Tongue-tie (medically known as ankyloglossia) is a congenital condition causing a short frenulum.

The frenulum is the small ridge of tissue at the base of your tongue that attaches to the floor of your mouth. When it is too short, it restricts the tongue’s ability to function properly.

Upper lip tie is very similar and causes the upper lip to be closely tethered to the gum line.

If left untreated, these conditions can result in eating or speech difficulties.

Are you concerned that your child might have one of these conditions?

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Tongue-tie Explained

Symptoms of Tongue-tie

Symptoms in infants include:

  • Difficulty latching during breastfeeding
  • Poor weight gain
  • Pain while nursing
  • Low milk supplies

Symptoms in toddlers and older children include:

  • Speech impediments
  • Difficulty articulating the sounds l, r, t, d, n, th, sh, and z
  • Inability to stick the tongue out beyond the upper gums
  • Trouble moving the tongue from side to side
  • Inability to touch the tongue to the roof of the mouth

Symptoms of Upper Lip Tie

Symptoms in infants are very similar to tongue-tie symptoms and include:

  • Difficulty latching during breastfeeding
  • Difficulty breathing during feeding
  • Clicking sound while nursing or feeding
  • Exhaustion after feeding
  • Colic

Symptoms in toddlers and older children include:

  • Problems with the smile line
  • Space between the upper teeth

Children with tongue-tie often display self-esteem problems as a result of their condition. A frenectomy can treat the emotional and physical symptoms of tongue-tie.


Tongue or lip tie is typically treated with an in-office procedure known as a frenectomy. A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that involves cutting or removing one or more frenula.


This procedure is usually performed in our office for infants (under six weeks old). For older children, general anesthesia may be recommended.

After Surgery

Recovery from a frenectomy takes about a week for your child to return to a normal diet and level of activity.