Can my son's tongue tie problem be cured through surgery?
Q: My 7-month-old son's tongue is not free and is connected by a thread like skin. Will it create problems in future? Will he be able to speak like other children? If surgery is the answer, then will it be a minor or a major one? Will it cure the problem completely? What is the right age for such an operation?
A:Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia or short lingual fraenulum) is a condition when the lingual fraenulum (a thin, vertical fold of tissue with attachments to the under-surface of the tongue and to the floor of the mouth) is restricted due to a consolidation of tissue, usually leading to reduced mobility of the tongue. Due to this the tongue cannot be protruded beyond the edges of the lower incisors. This condition can affect speech development, dental hygiene and eating habits of the child. In many cases tongue tie diminishes on its own, however, and surgery is often unnecessary. If surgery is deemed necessary, it should be postponed until the child is approximately 9 months old. Surgery involves cutting of the lingual frenum either as an out-patient (mild cases), or in the operating room (more advanced cases). It is a simple procedure and there are normally no complications. Consult a dental surgeon or a pediatric surgeon.