The Truth About Infant Tongue-Ties

Many parents are becoming aware of tongue-ties and how the condition impacts their child’s health. However, some parents are skeptical of treatment or believe that tongue-ties are a relatively newer health issue. The truth is that treatment is highly recommended and tongue-ties have always been an issue for many infants. Some people are just not aware of the health issue unless they or their child have it and are properly diagnosed. Even pediatricians often overlook the problem. For this reason, it is essential to raise awareness of tongue-ties to help infants and children who may have it as well as decrease future problems.

Most Common Misunderstandings

Infant tongue-tie is not the same for every affected child. Tongue-tie cases vary which may or may not be as noticeable to parents. Hence, some children never receive treatment and later develop health-related complications as a result. Some parents learn of their child’s tongue-tie but choose to refuse treatment for various reasons. Unfortunately, the child is likely to suffer health-related complications, including malnourishment.

One reason why a parent may refuse treatment is fear. Years ago, tongue-ties were treated with traditional snipping and sutures. However, this technique is no longer the only option as advancements in technology are now available. Today, tongue-ties may be treated with CO2 laser therapy. This technique safely and precisely treats the condition while allowing for a quick recovery and very little, if any, bleeding or scar tissue.

What is Tongue-Tie?

Every person is born with a frenulum, or soft tissue, which is under the tongue. The frenulum is supposed to dissolve further back under the tongue before birth, but sometimes this does not happen. Tongue-tie refers to the frenulum being too tight or thick which limits the tongue’s mobility. As a result, infants may experience the following issues:

  • Poor tongue movement
  • Reflux
  • Gasps for air during feedings
  • Baby falls asleep while feeding before consuming enough milk
  • Gas or hiccups after or during feeds
  • Poor, shallow latch
  • Leaks milk
  • Smacking or clicking sounds during feedings
  • Latches with gums
  • Oral blisters
  • Poor weight gain
  • Gulps milk
  • Inability to use a pacifier
  • Prefers to be bottle-fed

A patient needs to be properly diagnosed by a qualified doctor in order to be treated. Below are the different types of tongue-ties.

Anterior or Classic Tongue-Tie

The frenulum attaches from or close to the tip of the tongue and to the floor of the mouth in front of the salivary glands.

Posterior or Submucosal Tongue-Tie

The frenulum attaches further back under the tongue and just behind the salivary glands on the floor of the mouth.

Quick Facts About Tongue-Tie

  • Posterior tongue-ties are often misdiagnosed as simply having a shorter tongue.
  • Tongue-tie restricts tongue movement but this varies with every patient.
  • Infant malnourishment is a major concern with tongue-ties.
  • Toddlers and older children are likely to have difficulty with chewing and swallowing food, as well as speech.
  • Because breastfeeding may decrease due to an infants tongue-tie, low milk production may occur.
  • Infant digestive issues may occur such as colic and reflux (spitting up, gagging, and chocking).
  • CO2 laser therapy is the best way to treat tongue-tie in infants, children, and adults.

Is Treatment Necessary?

We highly recommend treatment even if your child’s tongue-tie is not severe. Each child is different but they are likely to develop health-related conditions that may impact their quality of life. Conditions may include:

  • Teeth clenching
  • Teeth grinding
  • Snoring
  • Sleep apnea
  • Mouth breathing
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Delayed speech
  • Lisp
  • Dental health issues
  • Speech issues
  • Migraines
  • Narrow airways
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Narrow palate
  • Underbite or overbite
  • Chronic asthma
  • Rhinitis
  • Neck, back, or jaw pain

Treating Tongue-Ties with CO2 Laser Therapy

procedure uses carbon dioxide to precisely and quickly evaporate the extra tissue. In addition, the area is instantly sterilized which minimizes discomfort. Infants can nurse immediately after treatment as well. Of course, it is important to seek consultation from a qualified doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Additionally, post-treatment care is important. Necessary tongue exercises help your infant to learn proper tongue movement. These exercises are easy and your doctor will teach you the technique. A follow-up visit is likely to be scheduled to assure the tongue is moving well and answer any questions or concerns. In addition, depending on the age of your infant or child, a follow up with your IBCLC, SLP, or bodyworker may be very helpful.

Learn About Tongue-Ties with Dr. Rosenberg

Dr. Fawn Rosenberg of Lexington Smile Studio is qualified and highly experienced in treating tongue-ties with CO2 laser therapy. In fact, she has treated thousands of patients, including infants. Learn more by scheduling a consultation today. Parents may call (781) 861-SMILE or book an appointment onlineat Our office is located at 922 Waltham St #202, Lexington, MA 02421. We look forward to meeting you.

About Fawn Rosenberg, DMD, FAGD

About Fawn Rosenberg, DMD, FAGD

Dr. Fawn Rosenberg graduated from Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1985 and received her Fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry in 1990. Since then, Dr. Rosenberg has been using a variety of lasers in dentistry for more than 20 years. Her credentials have been recognized at Brigham and Women’s Hospital along with Tufts, Boston, and Harvard universities, where she previously held staff appointments.

Dr. Rosenberg is devoted to continuing her education while participating in dental organizations. She is an active member of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, International Affiliation of Tongue-Tie Professionals and International Consortium of Oral Ankylofrenula Professionals.