My son is going in for a Tongue Tie clip, basically to do a small snip under his tongue to free it up, he fed well when he was young so it never came up until our dentist noticed it with his teeth and the school speech pathologist mentioned that he is having some trouble speaking. So we decided to do this, since it's a short outpatient procedure, but is there anything that we should look for in this post op wise? Most of what I have seen and read is that there should be nothing major, and considering he was in for another outpatient surgery last year and was up and about in a day I'm not too concerned about recovery.

I figure we should make him comfy, maybe give him some quiet time and let him watch a movie until he feels better, but with mouth surgery I don't know what would be best to do. Watching for foods with acidic content or maybe too salty is on my mind, but I don't have a lot of experience with mouth surgeries. Anyone gone through this recently who might have some advice?

4 Answers 4


[It seems the name of the condition is "Ankyloglossia", and the procedure is a "lingual frenectomy/frenotomy".]

My official "answer" is going to have to be that everyone should "ask your pediatrician, and the doctor doing the surgery", as they can tailor their answer to your individual patient.

I realize that's overly obvious (and somewhat of a non-answer), but the reason I'll emphasize it is because I checked 3 different parent's books (i.e. hardcopy) on children's medical conditions (including the Mayo Clinic guide and the American Academy of Pediatrics) and they had nothing to say about it there, which leads me to believe it may not be much different for children than adults (or can't be answered in a non-patient-specific way).

As far as the condition and procedure go in general (beyond just post-op for children), there seems to already be quite a lot of good quality material easily found with Google, so I won't duplicate all that here. (One person emphasized just monitoring for excessive tongue swelling and breathing problems... which sounds very sensible.)


[Sorry that I can't offer a reply from actual experience, but since no one has replied to you in a week I'm trying to help move the question forward.]

As a follow up, it might be good if you could come back post the answer to your own question, after asking your doctor(s). Though when it comes to surgery, everyone should still ask their doctor to get their own answers.

  • I give you the answer since you were the only one to respond, and I don't want to choose my own. Thanks!
    – MichaelF
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 12:31

Sorry, forgot I had this. Although the surgery was really quick, especially for an older child, here is what I learned about the frenectomy.

  • Infants, and young children, who don't have that much control over their tongues get this with a local anesthetic. The idea is that general anesthesia is not appropriate for infants at times, and because they don't have the control over the tongue that would cause issues during the surgery it tends to be a quick snip.
  • Older children, get general anesthesia, then a device is put into their mouths to keep the tongue steady and in the proper position. Then the snip is made under the tongue to allow the tongue free-er movement in the mouth.

Surgery was just under 20 minutes for us, and in the recovery room my son came out of it fairly quick, we were in for pre, op and post maybe for 2 hours. Afterwards they gave us a prescriptioni for antibiotics, as a precaution and told us to watch out for any fever within the next 24-48 hours. During his time in post-op my son was offered some cool drinks and popsicles, we were told cool items were ok. We were also told to avoid sugary things, just out of concern for anything on his teeth, and when brushing to avoid too much on the inside of the teeth next to the tongue.

My son thought his tongue felt funny for the first day, partly from the numbness and the stitches put in, the stitches were dissolvable ones and would only last a few days but there was nothing to worry about. If there were problems with brushing we were told to just have him rinse out his mouth with some salted water, no real food avoidances but we figured anything too sweet, spicy or hot were good to avoid. Otherwise things were good and he's feeling great.

  • your answer is more useful than the selected one, IMO. Commented Jul 20, 2013 at 1:59

Glad recovery is going well. As a speech language pathologist, I would advise you that there are exercises that would be beneficial for your child since he has had his surgery. His condition has limited the movement of his tongue over the years. Just because his tongue's range of motion has increased, his muscle strength and movement will not automatically appear. Specific, simple oral motor exercises can facilitate his oral motor strength and support improved speech.

  • Good point, we haven't thought about that and have basically been trying to get his diction better - for a 6 year old anyway. Which has worked well since he is learning English and Chinese so he get some good language exercise. Do you have any recommendations for good exercises?
    – MichaelF
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 15:52
  • 1
    I recommend 2 exercises. Tongue pops-sucking the tongue against the palate with the tip behind the upper teeth & releasing with the jaw dropping down as far as possible (almost like clucking to a horse) & Pull-holds-same as pops but hold tongue sucked against palate and jaw wide open for 5 seconds then pop open. Begin with ~10 reps and move to 150 reps 3-4 times per day. This strengthens the tongue especially for (l,r,sh,ch,j) sounds. Master pops then move to Pull-holds as skill improves. Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 1:11
  • Good suggestions, thanks. Considering the exercises I think my son would love to do that kind of thing, he loves to make noises with his mouth. Sometimes for fun, sometimes to annoy.
    – MichaelF
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 11:47

My 5 month old had hers done. It's been 24 hrs and she bled quite a bit, so we had to stay until it stopped. They used something to stop the bleeding - forgot what it's called. She was in pain all evening afterwards, but nursed quite well. I also noticed dark colored bowel movement, which is not her norm but I'm almost certain it's from swallowing blood. Today it looks swollen under her tongue, no bleeding whiteish yellow color which they say is normal. I can tell it's still uncomfortable for her today.

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