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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is ankyloglossia?

Ankyloglossia is also called tongue-tie. It is a condition that prevents your child's tongue from moving as freely as it should. The tongue is connected to the floor of the mouth by a thin piece of tissue called the frenulum. Your child's frenulum may be shorter, thicker, or tighter than it should be. Ankyloglossia can range from mild to severe depending on how much it decreases movement of the tongue.

What increases my child's risk for ankyloglossia?

Ankyloglossia is a congenital condition, which means that your child was born with it. It may run in families and is more common in boys than in girls. Mothers with history of cocaine abuse have a higher risk of having a child with ankyloglossia. It is also seen in children with certain genetic problems.

How is ankyloglossia diagnosed?

Your baby's healthcare provider will ask if your child has problems with feeding. The provider may watch your baby during breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Your older child's provider will ask your child to stick out his or her tongue and lift it upwards. This is to check the softness and length of the frenulum. Tell your child's provider if other family members have had the same condition.

How is ankyloglossia treated?

Mild ankyloglossia in babies may not be treated if your baby does not have feeding problems. The inside of your child's mouth will change in size and shape during the first 4 to 5 years of life. When teeth start to come in, the tongue grows and will narrow at the tip. Over time, the frenulum may grow, stretch, and even come loose on its own. Your child may need surgery if speech or feeding problems are severe. Surgery may be used to cut or remove the frenulum.

What are the risks of ankyloglossia?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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