Q&A: My baby is tongue-tied. Are there alternatives to surgery?
My son has a tight frenulum ("tongue tied"), and it was recommended that he have surgery to clip it at around six months of age and when he starts talking.
I was told that he would have to be put to sleep for the procedure. I'm hesitant to let a child so young undergo anesthesia, but I certainly don't want his speech to be hindered, either. Are there any other treatment options for this condition that don't involve general anesthesia?
The better question is: Does your son’s tight frenulum really need to be treated in the first place?
A generation ago, doctors were very aggressive about snipping a tight frenulum, but that is no longer the case. We now know that only the most severely ‘tied’ tongues interfere with speech, and that most children do fine without any treatment. If your son can stick his tongue out beyond his lips, and if the frenulum isn’t so tight that it creates a groove on the tip of his tongue when it is in his mouth, then there’s a good chance he won’t need surgery. In which case, you can wait and see how his speech progresses and only deal with the possibility of anesthesia if and when you are sure that the need for it arises.