Tongue Tie

What is tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie is caused by a tight frenulum (connective tissue under the tongue) which restricts the mobility and function of the tongue and may affect your baby’s ability to breast/bottle feed effectively. It can also be called restricted lingual frenulum.

Most of us have a lingual frenulum (a membrane situated towards the base of the tongue which extends from the under surface of the tongue into the floor of the mouth) so a visible or obvious lingual frenulum is normal. If it short or tight or attached close to the tip of the tongue, it can restrict your baby’s tongue movement and function and it may make it difficult for them to breastfeed.

All practitioners should inform you about the benefits and small risks of tongue-tie release, enabling you to make an informed decision about the treatment options.

Assessing your baby for tongue tie and discussing treatment needs to be done by a skilled tongue-tie practitioner.

Assessment and treatment options in Cambridge

NHS Treatment

Please note that services are currently limited because of the pandemic and waiting times may be longer than normal, or services restricted.

For NHS treatment, parents see the baby’s GP, Health Visitor (HV), or midwife first. They can refer to the providers below. The Infant Feeding team at the Rosie Hospital can refer babies, if the Community Midwife contacts them. Babies can also be referred by an Infant Feeding Advisor, who is part of the Health Visiting service. To contact her, call the HV Duty Desk: 0300 029 5050

You can see her at an NHS group, or ask for a one-to-one appointment. You may also like to follow their facebook page: NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Infant Feeding.

NHS in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will fund tongue-tie assessments and treatments for babies up to 16 weeks, if causing problems for baby or mother. NHS assessment and treatment is free.

Addenbrookes

An appointment will be given to see a paediatric surgeon in an available outpatient clinic slot. There is no set clinic specifically for this procedure so appointment times may vary.

They will see babies up to 12 weeks. They do not usually divide posterior tongue-ties.

Bedford Hospital

Oral Surgeon Mr Simpson and his team are trained to release all types of tongue-tie.

Mr. Simpson, Dept. of Oral Surgery, Bedford Hospital, Kempston Rd., Bedford MK42 9DJ

For babies up to 18 weeks.

Norfolk & Norwich Hospital (NNU)

NNU takes referrals from GPs, HVs, Infant Feeding Advisors and midwives, including Community Midwives, using the NNU referral form.

Private treatment – Lactation Consultants

Private options

This website lists International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) with specialist training in breastfeeding support and tongue-tie release, who are also registered health professionals:

Association of Tongue-tie Practitioners: www.tongue-tie.org.uk 

Click on the page ‘Find a tongue-tie divider.’

A private practitioner will be able to see you at home or in a clinic setting to assess and release the tongue-tie if appropriate and with your informed consent. The procedure costs approx £180. Discuss aftercare when booking: some practitioners include repeat visits (if needed) or phone calls in their package; some cost these separately.

Further information about tongue-ties

Cranial osteopaths

Sometimes we may suggest that you explore seeing a cranial osteopath for your baby. These are osteopaths in the Cambridge area who are work with babies.