Published: August 27, 2014

Parents: Checking for Ankyloglossia

Parents: Checking for Ankyloglossia

Did you know that by AGE 1 your baby should have been checked by a dentist for TONGUE-TIE, LIP-TIE and EARLY CHILDHOOD CARIES? (pictures below)

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that you schedule your child’s first dental visit by his/her first birthday to be checked for early childhood caries, ankyloglossia, and high maxillary frenum attachment.

More than 1 in 4 children in the U.S. have cavities by the time they are 4 years of age. It is important to understand that high maxillary frenum attachment or putting your child to sleep with the bottle could cause early cavities. The earlier we begin dental care, the greater the chance of preventing dental problems. To prevent the development of early childhood cavities, parents need to find out their child’s risk of developing cavities, learn how to manage diet, oral hygiene and fluoride to prevent problems before they start.

Ankyloglossia and high maxillary frenum attachment, otherwise known as tongue-tie and lip-tie respectively, are fairly common conditions that could affect your child’s capacity to breastfeed, swallow or even speak. From birth, your child’s lip and tongue are supposed to move freely to allow for proper function; however, if your child’s tongue is tied to the floor of the mouth, he or she would be more likely to be a mouth breather, snore or chew with his/her mouth open.

If your child’s tongue is tied to the floor of the mouth, then he or she can’t latch onto the breast adequately. This can cause severe pain and denuding of the nipple to the mother during breastfeeding and gastric colic to the child due to swallowing air when a proper seal with the breast isn’t made. In addition, abnormal swallowing due to ankyloglossia, can impact tooth alignment, occlusion and airway development of your child, due to the lack of pressure of the tongue against the palate with every swallow. Correcting this problem at an early age could prevent future dental problems and allow your child to develop normally.

On your child’s first visit we will-
• Examine your child’s teeth and gums. Often due to age and behavior a “knee to knee examination” will take place so that your child feels you close by, on your lap, while we examine and provide treatment for your child.
• Clean your child’s teeth and apply a topical fluoride.
• Discuss your child’s overall oral health including; growth and development, teething, pacifier and sucking habits, cavity risk factors, trauma and accident prevention.
• Discuss feeding habits by nursing, bottle-feeding, and/or the use of sippy cups.
• Demonstrate to both the parents and the child how to properly clean your child’s teeth.
• Make recommendations about daily home care including hygiene, diet, and fluoride use
• Review follow-up recall schedule.
• Answer any questions you may have and discuss any treatment needs for your child.

Our goal is to have this visit be as positive as possible. Fussing or crying is age appropriate behavior for some children and does not determine a positive or negative experience.

We encourage parent’s presence during our visits, but we ask that you allow our staff to establish a rapport with your child to gain his/her trust and confidence. We ask that you are a “silent observer” during the visit so that your child can concentrate on our kind, gentle, and non-threatening instructions.

Preparation for this visit should include simple and positive explanations of the visit. Please refrain from using words and phrases like: pain, shot, drill, needle, cavity, and “it won’t hurt.”

Explain that going to the dentist is natural, and fun, and an important part of maintaining good health. If you have any questions regarding the visit, just ask one of our staff members, or tell your child to ask the dentist.

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