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The phrase “tongue-tied” is more than just a figure of speech. A tongue tie, or ankyloglossia, is when a person’s lingual frenulum is too tight or too thick. For some, a tongue tie doesn’t affect everyday life. However, for others, it can severely affect tongue functionality, making it much harder for babies to breastfeed successfully. Untreated ties affect their ability to speak correctly, cause dental caries, orthodontic issues along with a host of other issues. Fortunately, a frenectomy is a quick and virtually painless procedure that can fix this issue.
If your child is having trouble articulating certain sounds that include the letters d, l, n, r, s, t, th, or z, they may have a tongue tie. Speech problems such as these typically show up in children around the age of three. Other signs may be a gap between the two bottom front teeth, trouble breast or bottle feeding, and/or a V-shaped notch at the tip of the tongue.
Checking for a Tie
If you suspect your child might have a tie, having them checked is quick and easy. Simply call myKIDSdds pediatric dentistry. Our pediatric dentists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of both lip and tongue ties and will be happy to assess your little one. During your appointment we’ll discuss symptoms, ask a questions about your child’s feeding and speech patterns, as well as answer any question you may have. We’ll also perform a lap exam where our provider and mom will sit knee to knee with baby laid across both laps, head toward the provider, this is key to determining whether your baby has a tie. We advocate diagnosing lip and tongue ties based primarily on function rather than appearance. While your baby may appear to have one or both ties, their oral function may not be inhibited.
If treatment is recommended and you decide to have the procedure, we allow time to do so during your appointment. We advise our moms to bring the baby slightly hungry so they can nurse immediately following the procedure. While this is not necessary, we find it can be an enormous comfort to both baby and mom.
A surgical release, or frenectomy, is the treatment of choice for lip and tongue ties. During a frenectomy the excess tissue is removed so that the lip and tongue are allowed more mobility and function. A laser frenectomy offers many advantages over the traditional cut-and-suture procedure, such as:
• complete removal of tissue
• minimal bleeding and inflammation
• shortened healing time
• little discomfort
• unlikely need for sutures
• quick procedure time
Every baby’s response to treatment varies. Your baby may be fussier or may sleep more than usual following the procedure. During your visit we will give you a variety of pain management options, should you need them. Some swelling is also to be expected, but will subside throughout the healing process.
With a laser frenectomy, post-operative stretches are crucial in preventing reattachment of the tissue, as well as strengthening the muscles. We will give you detailed instructions and demonstrate the stretches with you to help achieve the best results possible. To monitor healing and growth, we also advocate post-op visits in the weeks following the frenectomy. Continued support from your lactation professional after the revision is another important element in successful treatment.
View our video of recommended stretches.
Frenectomy in Dallas
If you’re looking for a compassionate and knowledgeable kids’ dentist in Dallas with experience in laser frenectomies look no further than myKIDSdds. Our pediatric dentists, Dr. Mark Kogut and Dr. Alejandra Villaseñor (Dr. Alex) advocate the benefits of breastfeeding and have seen how life-changing it can be for mothers and babies to experience this special bond. Helping families overcome the struggles associated with lip and tongue ties has been our teams’ most rewarding contribution to the children, parents, and community we serve.
Both doctors are members of the Academy of Laser Dentistry and the International Affiliation of Tongue-tie Professionals, and enjoy connecting with other likeminded healthcare professionals to help elevate the conversation on tongue and lip ties. Throughout their years of training, Dr. Kogut and Dr. Alex have each had the opportunity to train alongside leading doctors in the laser industry, including Dr. Larry Kotlow. They take pride in providing families with the most advanced care and technology available, and are dedicated to creating the best dental home for each unique family and child.
To request an appointment today, fill out our online form.