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Ankyloglossia management: a collaborative approach to educating healthcare professionals

02 December 2021
11 min read
Volume 29 · Issue 12

Abstract

The University of Wolverhampton are currently the only university in the UK to offer an accredited training course in advanced clinical skills in tongue tie (ankyloglossia) management (including frenulotomy) and attracts applicants from across the UK (and beyond). The 1-year programme, offered in collaboration with The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, prepares healthcare practitioners to practise safely and effectively as a tongue tie practitioner and is suitable for professionals from a variety of settings including midwifery, health visiting, advanced neonatal nursing practice, dentistry and paediatrics. The course comprises two online study days and the remainder of the 12 months is dedicated to clinical practice. The programme allows practitioners to gain an understanding of the underpinning theory of ankyloglossia (commonly known as tongue tie) and its management, as well as being able to achieve competency in clinical practice.

Ankyloglossia (commonly known as tongue tie) is defined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, 2005) as ‘a congenital anomaly characterised by an abnormally short lingual frenulum: the tip of the tongue cannot be protruded beyond the lower incisor teeth’. It is suggested that infants with a tongue tie are susceptible to difficulties with feeding, particularly those who are breastfed (NICE, 2005). Infants with a tongue tie may also suffer from other functional problems with speech and dentition (Kale et al, 2019). A lack of a universal assessment method means that it is difficult to fully determine the incidence of the condition; however, it is thought to affect up to 11% of neonates (Illing, 2019) with varying degrees of severity and clinical impact. Male infants are more commonly affected than female infants (Brookes and Bowley, 2014).

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