• Mr Brian MacCormack

Tongue-tie?

Updated: Jun 23

Are you worried that your child has a tongue-tie? Well….you’re in the right place!

In this post I'll to teach you what this means for your child, and how someone like me can fix it for them.



As your child developed in the womb their tongue separates from the floor of their mouth. A tongue-tie occurs when this process doesn’t occur properly.


Tongue-ties can be quite variable – some are really flimsy, while others can be quite thick.


As children get older some tongue-ties can tear on the lower teeth when the child chews on something.


If the tongue-tie is causing feeding problems (particularly in breast feeding babies – painful nipples, poor latch, poor weight gain), then dividing the tongue-tie is the only effective treatment.


Tongue-ties can cause problems with oral hygiene or make it uncomfortable for a child to stick out their tongue.

The effects of tongue-ties and their division on speech is a controversial area. Some tongue-ties can cause problems with making front of mouth sounds such as ‘l’, ‘t’, ‘th’, and ‘s’. Additionally, the clicking sounds used in some African languages need the tongue to be extremely mobile. However, tongue-tie division can never be completely guaranteed to prevent your child from developing a speech problem or to improve an existing one.


If your child has a tongue-tie and is less than 3-months of age, then I can release the tongue-tie in the clinic without the need for a general anaesthetic. The procedure takes just a few seconds and involves me wrapping them up tightly in a blanket, elevating the tongue with my finger and carefully releasing the tethering with a pair of sterile scissors. Although some babies cry, others can remain asleep throughout. The short moment of discomfort is worth it to avoid the risks of a general anaesthetic and to improve your child’s feeding. You should feed your child immediately following the procedure. I will then check the area following the feed to ensure there is no bleeding.


If your child is older than 3-months of age then they will have head-control that is too good to safely have the procedure performed in the clinic. In this case I will perform the procedure on my next available list under general anaesthetic. For particularly thick or fleshy tongue-ties in older children I can also use electrocautery to more safely perform the procedure.

Like in any operation there are small risks such as bleeding or infection – but thankfully these are often straightforward to treat.

Following the procedure, I would expect your child to be feeding straight away and to go home the same day.


So, if you’re worried that your child has a tongue-tie – why not get in touch?

Until next time, take care of yourself and your family. Best wishes.


Procedure information leaflet


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