A frenulum is the medical world refers to a small fold of mucous membrane (skin) that limits the movement of an organ or body part. When the thin strip of tissue running vertically from the floor of the mouth to the tongue's under-surface is tight, it is known as a lingual frenulum.
Frenulum linguae proves to be a problem since it restricts the natural movement of the tongue. For some people, their lingual frenulum is so short that it actually interferes with their speech because the tongue's tip significantly contributes to difficulty in range and rate of articulation. The result is pronouncing words incorrectly.
Ankyloglossia - Known as being 'tongue-tied', this anomaly is characterised by having an abnormally short lingual frenulum. As such, Ankyloglossia can affect speech, eating and oral hygiene. Medical professionals diagnose the disorder in a degree of severity, from mild cases to more severe instances where the tongue is fully joined to the floor of the mouth (complete ankyloglossia).
Breastfeeding complications - An abnormally short lingual frenulum in babies is often the catalyst of breastfeeding problems. This includes inadequate feedings and sore, damaged nipples for the mother. Symptoms that a newborn or infant may have Ankyloglossia include acting irritable during or after feeding breastfeeding, difficulty creating or maintaining suction, poor weight gain and problems latching onto the actual nipple.
A lingual frenectomy is a minor surgical procedure which removes the frenulum of the tongue. Although it sounds difficult, this procedure is often conducted in the dentist or doctor's office because infection and post-bleeding are rare.
In serious cases, frenectomy surgery is needed to cut the tissue under the tongue, along with frenuplasty; a surgical alteration in a frenulum. This is performed in a hospital operating room and a surgical reconstruction procedure known as 'z-plasty closure' may be required in a bit to prevent scar tissue from forming.
If you believe you have a lingual frenulum, or are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above, it is recommended that you visit your Blackburn dentist for a dental assessment to evaluate your concerns.
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