Tongue and Lip Tie
Parent Testimonials: Laser Tongue Tie and Lip Ties
What is a Tongue-Tie or a Lip Tie?
A tongue tied baby or lip tie is a common, but often overlooked condition that is seen at birth and can cause a wide range of difficulties that can affect the sufferer in many different ways if left untreated. The frenulum is a fibrous attachment that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth and the lips to the gums. When the frenulum is too short, it can restrict the movement of the tongue and lips, and can interfere in normal swallow function, and overall dental and craniofacial development.
What are the signs or symptoms?
Typically a tongue-tie or a lip tie can be diagnosed as early as the first few days post birth. This is especially true when a poor nursing latch, or painful breastfeeding are involved. However, sometimes the signs are not so obvious, and other symptoms arise, including speech delays, sleep disordered breathing, or improper swallow.
How is it treated?
At The Brush Stop Pediatric Dentistry, your child’s health and wellbeing is our primary concern. By utilizing a CO2 Laser, we can assure a quick and minimally invasive procedure, with nominal soft tissue damage and scar tissue. The CO2 laser is used for the most intricate and delicate surgeries, and is the most gentle to the tissues when compared to other lasers and scalpels or blades. The procedure itself takes a matter of seconds, with minimal to no bleeding, and no sutures.
If you suspect that your baby or child is suffering from either a lip tie or tongue tie, please do not hesitate to call our office at 760-635-5995.
What are some of the symptoms of a tongue tie or lip tie in a child?
Symptoms Experienced by Infant:
- Shallow latch
- Poor weight gain or weight loss
- Clicking or gulping sounds while nursing
- Gumming, chewing nipples, leaks milk due to inability to form latch
- Frequently releases
- Infant has nursing ulcer on lip
- Long nursing sessions, falls asleep mid feed
- Easily chokes
- Potential future speech and dental problems including cavities
- Inability to swallow solid foods such as meat, “picky eaters”
Symptoms Experienced by Mother:
- Painful to nurse
- Frequent Mastitis
- Breasts don’t fully empty
- Cracked, blistered, or bleeding nipples
- Milk supply diminishing
How does a Laser work?
At The Brush Stop Pediatric Dentistry, we utilize one of the best lasers on the market. A CO2 laser is an ACTUAL laser that does not physically touch the tissue, but rather vaporizes the tissue. Unlike most diode lasers, there is no heated tip, and no physical interaction with the tissue. The CO2 laser is attracted to water, therefore no thermal damage is done to the tissue. There is very little discomfort with a laser, and some babies and children do not even notice the procedure being done. The procedure time takes less than 1 minute, and there is minimal to no bleeding, no sutures, and the laser creates a sterile environment, meaning there is little to no risk of infection. Because the CO2 laser causes the least amount of necrosis on the tissues, it stimulates regeneration of the tissue with a beautiful result.
Does the frenectomy need to be done?
It is important to understand that a procedure should only be performed when symptoms are present. There are several children who exhibit short frenula, but nurse very well, and have little to no restriction due to the short frenulum. At The Brush Stop, we believe that diagnosis is a team approach, and nursing mothers should have a consult with a lactation consultant to determine the need for such procedures.
Are Frenectomies only for newborn babies with tongue-ties?
Absolutely not! There is never a bad time to revise a lip or tongue-tie if it is causing symptoms. Treatment modalities depend greatly on child’s age and cooperation levels. At The Brush Stop Pediatric Dentistry, we treat newborns, children, and teens with restrictive issues.
Possible benefits of treatment?
- Assist in the success of nursing
- Relief from pain of breastfeeding
- Proper weight gain
- Stimulation of milk production
- Decrease risk of tooth decay as child gets older
- To assist in the proper craniofacial growth and development
- To evade long term speech deficiencies, and orthodontic issues
What can I anticipate post revision?
The frenectomy procedure is just the first step toward a happy and healthy breastfeeding experience with your baby. We HIGHLY recommend working with your Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), as you will require further training in getting a proper and full latch.
Most parents choose to try and nurse post revision in our private nursing suite. Occasionally, nursing may be difficult due to the numbing agents utilized during the procedure to ensure your child does not feel pain. Do not be concerned if latching is not easily achieved at first.
Most infants do not require any pain medication, however, every child responds in his or her own way. You may notice more irritability or fatigue depending on the treated ties or individual sensitivities. You should consult with your pediatrician prior to administering any medications, as medications should be provided with a specific dose for you baby’s weight. As an alternative you may also breastfeed as the act itself as an analgesic, and works in conjunction with the sweetness of the breast milk to calm your baby. If this is not possible for you, your IBCLC can instruct you how to hand express or pump milk to feed. There are a variety of different methods including Nipple shields, finger feeders etc. This will keep your baby hydrated, fed and you will be relieved of engorgement.
It is perfectly normal for some children to be fussy for the first 3 days. You can assist with warm baths and tummy time with skin-to-skin contact.
At home you will notice that the upper lip is now freed into a new, fuller position. Keep in mind that this new lip and tongue mobility will be new and confusing to your child, and you must grant them a period of time to adjust to their improved muscle function. Be patient with your child, as they are relearning to properly use their muscles.
What to do at home?
Aftercare and wound management is the most critical part of the success of the procedure. The tissues of the mouth begin to heal within the first 24 hours, and this may result in premature reattachment of the tissues. You will notice a yellow diamond for the first week after the revision. In regards to the tongue and lip, the ideal healing pattern is in an open conformation, rather than closed. Meaning stretching the wounds, and massaging the wounds is incredibly important to avoid reattachment.
Stretches should be fun, and accompanied with a song, or laughing. If you are anxious, your infant will read this. Random timing is best, so that your child does not associate stretches with feeding. In other words, do not always stretch right before or after a feeding; be sure to mix it up. Our team at The Brush Stop Pediatric Dentistry is happy to discuss these stretches in more detail at your initial consult.
More on Dr. Jenna Khoury, DMD on Tongue Tie Surgery and Lip Ties in Carlsbad, CA