View Full Version : What is that flap of skin under my tongue?
Church Key Kid
08-27-2002, 10:04 PM
That vertical flap of skin connected to my tongue:
1) What is it called?
2) What is it for? Do I need it?
3) Is it possible to trim it up? I'm thinking about getting my tongue pierced several times in a line, and it seems like it'll be in the way. If I do get it trimmed, can I stick my tongue out really far, ala Gene Simmons? Anybody ever get their cut (on purpose)? Who does it & how much does it cost?
08-27-2002, 10:28 PM
1) It's called the frenulum.
2) Its purpose is to help anchor the tongue to the floor of the mouth. You probably do need it.
3) It probably won't get in the way, but IANAD.
It is possible to have it cut. There is a congenital condition called "tongue-tie" (aka ankyloglossia) that exists when the frenulum is too short. If it causes feeding problems, it's necessary to have it cut. It's now a routine doctor's office procedure, but I'm not sure about the cost. In any case, you'll probably have a hard time finding a doctor to do it for cosmetic reasons. It's permanent, and it may cause even bigger problems in an otherwise normal adult.
Robin, whose kid is tongue-tied.
08-27-2002, 11:08 PM
My nephew had that problem, ankyloglossia. When he was about six months old they clipped it, not because of the feeding problem, they were concerned about his eventual ability to talk.
That was ten years ago; now he won't shut up.
08-27-2002, 11:19 PM
I want to have my frenulum snipped in order to be able to stick my tongue out really far, for...ah...recreational activities.
08-28-2002, 10:02 AM
Actually, I think the “frenulum” is the tissue which connects the foreskin to the head of the penis”.
The tissue connecting the tongue to the base of the jaw is called the ” fraenum linguae”.
For the curious, Aleister Crowley was born with a problem with both his frenulum and his fraenum linguae. In the first chapter of his “Confessions”, refering to himself in the third person, he writes:
Her firstborn son, the aforesaid, was remarkable from the moment of his arrival. He bore on his body the three most important distinguishing marks of a Buddha. He was tongue-tied, and on the second day of his incarnation a surgeon cut the fraenum linguae. He had also the characteristic membrane, which necessitated an operation for phimosis some three lustres later. Lastly, he had upon the centre of his heart four hairs curling from left to right in the exact form of a Swastika.
(By “an operation for phimosis some three lustres later”, he means he was circumcized when he was fifteen.)
08-28-2002, 01:01 PM
"Frenulum" (or less commonly "frenum") is a general term that refers to several flaps of skin in the human body. You're born with three just in your mouth; the other two connect the insides of your upper and lower lips to your gums. Most people tear at least one of those during childhood, causing lots of bleeding and freaked parents, but no real damage.
08-29-2002, 08:38 AM
I read once that the frenulum of the tongue used to be deliberately severed by practioners of yoga in India. This operation would allow the tongue, not to be stuck out, but rather the opposite -- to be swallowed deep into the throat. Coupled with, oh, I don't know, meditation or breathing exercises or something, the yogi would be on the path to nirvana. Or something like that.
08-29-2002, 09:00 AM
Just a snip on a membrane and the tongue is supposedly longer, more flexible and -- some South Koreans believe -- better able to pronounce such notorious tongue-teasers for Asians as the English word "rice" so it does not sound like "lice."
08-29-2002, 11:57 AM
I was born with that flap grown all the way to the tip of my tongue! It took the drs till I was three months old to figure out why I could hardly suck my bottles ( my tongue was pretty much anchored down) and they finally clipped it. This was 38 years ago (38 years ago today , in fact :p ): Hopefully it wouldn't take that long to figure out today!
09-02-2002, 03:10 AM
Actually I looked into having this done...and it IS called the frenulum. THe procedure is called a "sublingual frenectomy" and I believe the going rate in the US is around $500 or so.
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