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What is Tongue Tie?
The lingual frenulum (or frenum), is a remnant of tissue in the midline between the undersurface of the tongue and the floor of the mouth. When it interferes with normal tongue function it is called “symptomatic tongue-tie” or “symptomatic ankyloglossia”. Tongue-tie can thereby adversely affect breastfeeding. Research is urgently needed to elucidate the implications that tongue-tie and other oral restrictions may have on chewing, swallowing, regurgitation, digestion, speech and breathing disorders.
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Bottle Fed Infants
Currently, breastfeeding difficulty is the only scientifically proven indication for neonatal lingual frenotomy. Treatment for tongue tie in bottle fed infants with feeding problems or in infants in order to prevent speech and articulation problems or suboptimal airway development bears further study.
The International Board Certified Lactation Consultants should provide anticipatory guidance and referrals regarding further evaluation and treatment by manual therapists, body workers, and appropriate medical and dental practitioners in the community.
The first indication of restricted oral tissue is usually breastfeeding dysfunction. Assessment by an experienced IBCLC is imperative in order to review breastfeeding function, rule out other known challenges, and guide the breastfeeding dyad in optimizing latch, positioning, and routines impacting both milk supply and the nursing relationship.
To complement work with an IBCLC, parents are encouraged to work with manual therapists and bodyworkers experienced with challenges to breastfeeding, including tongue tie.