Normal Tongue Function

In an infant, a normal tongue moves around freely and is not confined by teeth and therefore extends outwards between the upper and lower jaw. Whilst swallowing the infants keep their jaws parted and the tongue is placed between gum pads to produce a vacuum for swallowing (called the infantile swallow)

At 2.5 years of age when all the milk teeth have erupted, this “infantile swallow” is replaced by the adult swallow. Here the lips are closed, the jaws bite together and the tip of the tongue is raised and pressed against the front part of the upper jaw.

Abnormal Tongue Function

It may impede speech and many babies can find it difficult to suckle if they have a tied tongue. Mothers, midwives and doctors see this often.

If a child has a tongue tie then they do not outgrow their infantile swallow and continue to swallow with their jaw apart. This leads to two major facial growth problems

  • an open bite situation (where the front teeth do not touch with each other when the child closes his/her mouth). This happens because during swallowing the tongue sits between the teeth in the front part not allowing the jaws to come together.


  • The upper jaw does not develop fully resulting in

    long term breathing problems that may lead to i.snoring

    1. ii.sleep apnoea leading to tiredness and therefore ADHD
    2. iii.ADHD
    3. iv.multiple ear infections
    4. v.bed wetting

Treatment options

There is a lot of controversy on whether we should resect the tongue tie

There may or may not be any speech impedements or other functional issues however it has been recognised quite widely that facial growth is affected and results in the effects discussed above.

Laser Resection of Tongue Tie

Under topical (cream) anaesthetic on the tongue tie, we can precisely and painlessly remove the tissue making it very comfortable for your baby. It takes practically less than 15 seconds. There is no bleeding afterwards, no sutures and hardly any discomfort.

Children go to school the day after and adults can go back to work the same day.  Eating is normal.

Babies can suckle immediately after the procedure! It is a truly amazing way to have surgery.

It is advisable though to have the treatment done as early a possible. The simple reason for this is that between the ages of 18months and 5 years it is difficult to co-operate with children to ask them to stay still. Under 18 months of age, generally it is easy for the laser dentist to apply topical anaestheitc and carry out the procedure. Older children (above 5 years) we preferably like to give sedation. Please do remember that the procedure only takes less than 15 seconds.

If you would like more information on laser treatment of tongue tie in sydney please contact Smile Concepts directly by clicking here or ringing 02 9267 7777

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