Last week we discussed how to check an infant for a tongue-tie. Young children are typically more difficult to check for a tongue-tie, but this age group can often have incredible results if it is released properly and fully, and aftercare exercises and stretches are performed.
To check a child, have them lie in the dental chair, or on a knee-to-knee board, and come from behind. Do not try to check without gloves on, with only a tongue depressor, or by having the child stick out their tongue. That’s the worst test to determine if a child or adult has a tongue-tie. Elevation is the critical measure, so you can have a cooperative child lift their tongue or you can manually lift their tongue to check how high it lifts. (For parents at home, you don’t need gloves, just wash your hands, but you do have to come from behind and use a flashlight to see.)
Use two index fingers and reach under the tongue and lift it up. Notice the tension in the frenum. See how easily it elevates. Does it lift to the palate? Does it barely lift at all? Where does the frenum attach? How thick is it? Even frena that attach 50% of the way to the tip, or 20% of the way to the tip can cause significant limitations for some children.
Make sure to do a full assessment of a child’s symptoms as well. Many kids can have perfect speech, but may suffer from issues eating (slow or picky eating, choking or gagging on foods, etc.) or trouble with sleep issues (snoring, grinding teeth, poor sleep quality, etc.).
Next week we will discuss how we treat a tongue-tie properly. In the meantime, if you’d like to schedule a consult for your child, we would be happy to discuss your child’s issues and perform a proper examination. If you’re a professional, and you’d like to learn more about tongue-ties, check out our Professionals page that has free forms and a free download of our book Tongue-Tied.