Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears demonstrates how doctors correct a newborn’s abnormal frenulum, which creates a “tongue-tied” effect, by clipping the tongue slightly.
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Treating Tongue-Tied Newborns Dr. Travis Stork: We received this email from a concerned parent in Texas. She writes, “Dr. Sears, my newborn is having trouble breastfeeding and my doctor says it may be that she’s tongue-tied. What does that mean?” sincerely Clara Rodack. Dr. Jim Sears: Oh Clara well the medical term for this is called ankyloglossia I just like to call it tongue tied now what it is, is when that little flap of tissue underneath the tongue is a little too thick it ties your tongue down and basically in babies it causes core feeding in older people it causes speech problems and the problem is if you fix it early it’s a lot easier so let me just show you what I'm talking about. This is a normal frenulum this is that flap of little skin underneath the tongue. And normally it attaches about half way up the tongue allowing the tongue to do its job. You know move freely in and out of the mouth for feeding, talking and all that kind of stuff. But if you have tongue-tie the frenulum is going to be a lot thicker. Now this is an older child with tongue-tie and as you can see here the tongue is just not able to move outside the mouth and you talk like this if you have tongue tie. So if you wait until you're older to fix it you can see this is pretty thick and to cut through it there's a lot of nerves in there a lot of bloods apply you got to numb it up and there's stitches and there's bleeding it’s a pretty complicated procedure but if you fix it when you're young it’s a lot easier. Let me show you this. On a baby the frenulum is still a lot thinner and it’s a really simply procedure. You can do it in the office simply just get the baby to open the mouth usually crying take a blood scissor and you just go in there and you take a little snip of the frenulum right down at the basic of the tongue there's no nerves in there there's no bleeding the baby doesn’t feel it at all and it’s as simple as cutting finger nails. Dr. Travis Stork: There's no numbing involved. Dr. Jim Sears: No, the nerves aren’t there yet. If they can recognize tongue-tie then send them to a specialist or a pediatrician that can clip it and it fixes the problem. Dr. Travis Stork: Thank you Dr. Sears thank you very much for that education we appreciate it.