Have you ever noticed that your friends can move their tongues in ways you can’t? Maybe you can’t curl your tongue. Maybe they can lick an ice cream cone more easily. There may be a very simple answer: you may have ankyloglossia.
What is Ankyloglossia?
Ankyloglossia, also known as tongue-tie, is a minor birth defect. People with this tongue have a frenum, or tongue web, which is unusually short, thick, or tight. The tongue web may continue all the way to the tip of the tongue. This abnormal tongue web ties the tongue to the floor of the mouth, limiting movement.
Ankyloglossia is a very common condition; millions of people worldwide are tongue-tied. The severity varies from person to person, and some people may not even know they are tongue-tied. This problem is most often treated in young children, but plenty of people wait until adulthood for treatment.
What Problems Can It Cause?
Ankyloglossia has a variety of associated symptoms and problems:
- Trouble breast feeding
- With limited tongue movement the baby may have trouble latching on
- Speech difficulties
- Sounds like “d,” “l,” “r,” “s,” “t,” “th,” and “z” can be particularly hard
- Difficulty eating/swallowing
- Trouble sticking out the tongue
- Difficulty with other lingual activities
- This includes things such as licking foods or playing an instrument
- Poor oral hygiene
If you are suffering from these symptoms, however, there is an easy solution.
The tongue web isn’t the only frenum in the mouth; there are two others, one each between the gums and the upper and lower lip. An over-developed labial frenum can also cause problems. If it extends too far beyond the gum line, the front teeth can be pushed apart. Braces can of course treat this problem, but surgery can head off the orthodontic problems before they start.
The frenectomy is a simple surgery designed to remove the excess frenum. This simple surgery can treat tongue-tie and labial frenum problems. Periodontist Dr. Jody Harrison can complete all aspects of the surgery.
What to Expect
Your frenectomy can be completed right in our comfortable Asheville, NC office in just one visit. Dr. Jody Harrison uses laser dentistry which is safer and more precise than traditional surgery. Laser dentistry procedures also tend to heal faster than traditional surgeries. Typically only topical anesthesia is needed, but if that thought makes you nervous please ask about sedation dentistry.
Schedule an Appointment
If you think you or your child might need a frenectomy, contact Jody Harrison Periodontics and Dental Implants in Asheville, NC and schedule a consultation today. Set up an appointment online or at (828) 202-1706.