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How do medications treat ankyloglossia?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
There are no medications that can treat ankyloglossia, or tongue-tie, directly. However, anesthesia is part of the treatment process as it is used during a surgical procedure called a frenotomy (cutting of the frenulum of the tongue). A frenotomy is a simple procedure that can be done in a doctor's office with a local anesthetic. Side effects from this surgery can include bleeding and pain. If the child is old enough, medications can be given to manage these side effects.
There are no medications to treat ankyloglossia, a condition that limits typical tongue movement. Babies who have the condition, also called tongue-tie, may have difficulty breastfeeding and may chew instead of suck on the nipple. Older children, for example, may have difficulty licking an ice cream cone.

Mild cases of tongue-tie may not require treatment but if needed doctors can perform simple surgery that involves snipping tissue under the tongue. Rare side effects include infection, ulceration, and long-lasting damage to the tongue.
Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrics
There are no medications which treat ankyloglossia, or tongue-tie. The only way to treat ankyloglossia is to cut part of the lower frenulum which "ties" the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. If you baby is very young and the membrane is very thin, your pediatrician may be able to do it. If you baby is older or the membrane is thicker, you should see an ENT specialist to have it fixed.

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