[Neonatal tongue-tie: myths and science].

Shaul Dollberg*, Eyal Botzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anatomical restraining of tongue movement (tongue-tie, ankyloglossia) has been known for centuries and the subject of dozens of articles. The heated debate persists on its clinical significance and indications for treatment. Most authorities in the field of infant feeding and Lactation agree that breastfeeding problems, such as nipple pain and latching difficulties, are common signs of clinicaLly significant tongue-tie and indications for performing a frenotomy, while the sole presence of a visible lingual frenulum is not. In contrast, the lack of a visible frenulum does not rule out the diagnosis of clinically significant tongue-tie since submucosal ties, also called "posterior tongue-tie", may interfere with efficient breastfeeding. Whether tongue-tie interferes with speech articulation to a significant extent is currently unknown. Theoretically, articulation of some consonants (e.g., /s/, /th/, /r/) would be affected by impeded tongue movement. These articulation problems are, however, Less common than tongue-tie itself, and children and adults characteristically use various compensatory techniques of mouth opening and tongue movements. When it is indicated, frenotomy is performed by lifting the tongue and snipping the frenulum with scissors. Complications of frenotomy are rare and consist mainly of self-limited minor bleeding. The significance of posterior tongue tie and the long-term effects of frenotomy performed during early infancy are unresolved issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-49, 67
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


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