Ankyloglossia: Symptoms and Treatment Options

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A common development disability found in children that can be easily treated when diagnosed early is ankyloglossia. Children with ankyloglossia are more commonly referred to as being "tongue tied." Found in about four to six percent of the population, the condition exists when a piece of tissue found connecting the floor of the mouth with the bottom part of the tongue (called the lingual frenum) restricts the movement of the tongue both in the up and down and from side to side directions.

Ankyloglossia Symptoms

Depending on the severity of the condition, the child may have difficulty with breastfeeding, digestion and speech development. The area may also be subject to trauma if there is restricted opening of the oral cavity. As the primary (baby) teeth develop, the child may also have difficulty eating.

Treatment Options for Ankyloglossia

According to Childrens MD, the most common way to treat ankyloglossia is a frenectomy, a quick and usually painless procedure. This consists of cutting the lingual frenum to "untie" the base of the tongue from the floor of the mouth. The most common methods of doing this simple surgical procedure are either by the use of a scalpel or a soft tissue laser. In some rare cases the patient can "outgrow" the condition as the tongue matures, and if the frenum becomes longer in length as the child ages.

After Care Treatment

For a few days after surgery, the area under the tongue may be tender to the touch, and the patient should avoid hot and spicy foods for a week until repair tissue grows around the area that was cut. It might feel similar to a pizza burn, and your dentist or oral surgeon might prescribe some pain medicine to reduce the inflammation associated with it. To keep the area clean, rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash such as Colgate Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse, a soothing rinse that helps promote the natural healing of minor mouth irritations. This will help kill bacteria and reduce the irritation in and around the surgical wound.

Early recognition and diagnosis of ankyloglossia by a pediatrician, pediatric dentist or general dentist will aid the patient in the treatment and management of the complications that can result from being tongue-tied. Simple observation after surgical intervention can ensure the normal development of the child, and reduce the amount of potential developmental problems one might encounter.

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Developmental disabilities make everyday dental care a challenge, and many patients with disabilities receive dental treatment from experienced providers in hospitals, state-operated facilities and nursing homes. Others may opt for care from private practitioners in their communities.