Medical Definition of Ankyloglossia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ankyloglossia: A minor birth defect in which the flap of membrane attached to the underside of the tongue (frenulum) is too short. This shortened frenulum limits the mobility of the tongue. Ankyloglossia is also called tongue tie, from the folk belief that the anomaly causes feeding and speech problems. A child cannot feed or speak properly because the tongue is 'tied.' This antiquated belief is untrue.

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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