Symptoms of Lip and/or Tongue Ties
For nursing mothers and infants, lip and tongue-ties can often prevent them from experiencing a happy and healthy breastfeeding relationship.
Without a full range of motion, babies cannot effectively latch and transfer milk. For mom this can lead to cracked or bleeding nipples, infection, and breast engorgement. Infants may also experience symptoms like poor weight gain, colic behavior, chewing of mom’s nipples or not want to nurse very often.
Without full flexibility of the lip, babies are unable to properly flange around the breast. Without the ability to fully lift the tongue to the palate, babies are unable to successfully expel and transfer milk.
Long-term Effects of Lip and Tongue Ties
There are several long-term effects of leaving lip-ties/tongue-ties uncorrected. Symptoms may not always be obvious in infants, but as a child grows and their mouth develops, complications may be more noticeable.
In many cases these issues can be avoided by early intervention. However, because our doctors diagnose based upon function rather than appearance, they may recommend waiting until the child is older.
Some common problems faced by individuals with untreated ties include:
- Speech and articulation issues
- Gaps in front teeth and orthodontic issues
- Gum recession
- Painful brushing and flossing
- Poor food cleansing
- Decay and cavities
- Aversion to solid foods
Benefits of Releasing a Lip and/or Tongue Tie
One of the most significant benefits to having a frenectomy performed is that it makes breastfeeding much easier for your infant, while it can also help older children dealing with oral or linguistic issues.
• Better appetite and easier breastfeeding
• Improved bite function
• Healthy weight gain
• Reduced or removed acid reflux
• Easier breathing
• Increased self-confidence
• Improved speech
What You Should Know About A Frenectomy
We know it’s frustrating when breastfeeding isn’t going well.
That’s why we set aside time in our schedule specifically for lip and tongue tie babies! We accommodate your schedule and provide relief as soon as possible, if not the same-day!
At your appointment, you can expect a caring group of knowledgeable professionals who will examine your little one and happily answer your questions. We’ll walk you through every step! After the exam you will be able to discuss treatment and ask any questions you may have.
Once it has been determined whether your child has a lip and/or tongue tie our provider may recommend surgical release of the tie(s), known as a frenectomy. We understand this decision can be difficult which is why we place such an emphasis on educating and supporting you and your family during this time.
If you make the decision to go forward with a frenectomy, you can rest assured that at myKIDSdds your little one is in great hands. Our pediatric dentists are certified and experienced in lip and tongue tie release using CO2 lasers. This method poses many advantages, the greatest being a quick in-office procedure time (only seconds per site) with minimal bleeding, an unlikely need for sutures, and shortened healing time. During the procedure your little one will be swaddled and the RDA working with your family will be with your baby the entire time. You can expect to have your little one back in your arms within 5 to 10 minutes. While you wait one of our dental assistants will review post-op care and other tips to help make the healing process easier for both you and your baby.
After the procedure we will take the time to practice post-op stretches with you and your little one and give you an opportunity to breastfeed if you choose to do so. We also like to see you back a week after the procedure to monitor healing and answer any additional questions.
Although there is little risk of infection, proper aftercare is very important. The pediatric dentists and team at myKIDSdds will provide and review proper care information before and after the procedure. With babies, you may notice that they refuse to nurse for the first 24-hours following the frenectomy, this is completely normal. Make sure to speak with a lactation consultant to discuss alternative feeding methods immediately following the procedure, as your baby may need help relearning how to breastfeed. We also recommend making an appointment with a cranio-sacral therapist to help relieve any pressure or tension caused by lip and/or tongue restriction. Older children should be gentle when brushing their teeth for the first few days following the frenectomy. Rinsing with salt water will help keep the area clean.
For more information, or to read how this procedure transformed the lives of one of our families, check out the blog post we wrote in partnership with our friends at Dallas Moms Blog or the blog post on our site.
Tongue and lip ties often occur in tandem and affect 4 to 11 percent of newborns in the U.S.
In some cases, babies do outgrow their breastfeeding difficulties and do not need the procedure. However, it can take many weeks of growth for improvement to occur. Some tongue-ties can get cut or torn by themselves.
A frenectomy is a quick surgical procedure, but it isn’t the right answer for every infant. Before considering surgery, Dr. Alex would first want to assess the infant’s feeding history, oral musculature and range of motion of the tongue, among other factors.
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