Rebecca Testa Pediatric Dentistry

Tongue-Tie / Lip Tie

What Are Tongue- and Lip-Ties?

Some children are born with extra tissue called frenum under their tongue or upper lip. These are called tongue-ties and lip-ties and can cause difficulty with speech, breastfeeding, weight gain, and even dental decay.

If not treated during childhood, the adverse effects of tongue and lip-ties can follow children into adulthood. Headaches, neck and shoulder pain, sleep issues, and speech problems are all signs of untreated tongue and lip-ties.

Tongue Tie - Rebecca Testa Pediatric Dentistry - Frenectomy

Frenectomy

Our office offers frenectomy services for children of all ages. This service is great for young children with lip tie and tongue tie releases, and also helpful for infants for breastfeeding. The treatments are also helpful for older kids to improve their speech and esthetics, and help with speech therapy, particularly after braces.

Tongue Tie - Rebecca Testa Pediatric Dentistry - Frenectomy
Frenectomy - Rebecca Testa Pediatric Dentistry

Frenectomy With Laser

We evaluate and treat both infants and children for Lip Tie, Tongue Tie and Buccal Ties using a laser. Reasons for treatment may include:
  • Helping to improve breastfeeding challenges for both baby and mother.
  • Feeding challenges for children
  • Speech issues and delays.

Benefits of A Laser Frenectomy

Choosing a highly trained doctor to perform a laser frenectomy can offer your baby countless benefits:
  • No General anesthesia needed
  • Treatment time of only a few minutes
  • Nearly bloodless
  • Minimal discomfort
  • Minimally invasive
  • Can lead to immediate feeding improvements

How can I tell if my baby has a tongue tie?

If your baby is struggling to latch and you suspect a physical impediment to success, look into the baby’s mouth and use your finger to feel for tightness in the tissue under his or her tongue or between the front upper gum and lip.
 
We advise that Lactation consultant, body worker, feeding or speech therapist evaluation are completed prior to frenectomy treatment.
Boys at a pond - Rebecca Testa Pediatric Dentistry

Early indicators of lip or tongue ties during nursing may include:

Infants Symptoms

  • Short, shallow, unsustained latch
  • Sliding off nipple
  • Prolonged feeding times
  • Unsatisfied hunger after prolonged feeding (poor milk transfer)
  • Clicking and swallowing air while nursing (Aerophagia)
  • Falls asleep while attempting to nurse
  • Gumming or chewing on nipple
  • Poor weight gain or failure to thrive
  • Gas, colic symptoms and/or reflux, including vomiting
  • Infant arching or aggressive refusal of breast
  • Upper lip blister
  • Difficulty holding onto a pacifier
  • Milk leaking out sides of mouth when nursing

Mothers Symptoms

  • Nipple trauma: cracked, bruised, bleeding, blistered, flattened, blanched or creased nipples
  • Severe pain with latch of infant during nursing
  • Continued pain during nursing
  • Incomplete breast drainage
  • Reduction of milk flow
  • Infected nipples
  • Mastitis or nipple thrush
  • Recurring plugged ducts

How is the procedure completed?

First, your baby will be swaddled. The dentist then uses a precise laser to release the tightened tissue. The whole procedure takes only a few minutes and then baby is returned to you to try and latch immediately. Your baby may experience some slight swelling for a day or so following the treatment. Also, the dentist will provide advice on how to care for the baby’s mouth and if any exercises or post-surgical care is needed to ensure that the frenum does not reattach or tether again.

If you have questions about this procedure or suspect that your baby might have a tongue tie, contact us to make an appointment with our doctors for assessment and advice.

Why Should My Infant Undergo a Frenectomy?

Infants with tongue and lip-ties may:

  • Have difficulty nursing or taking a bottle
  • Drip milk out of their mouth when eating
  • Have trouble gaining weight
  • Click their tongue or smack their lips when eating
  • Have reflux or symptoms of colic
  • Be continually fussy, often due to gas

Older children with tongue and lip-ties may:

  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Experience a strong gag reflex
  • Have delayed speech
  • Speak softer than average or have difficulty being understood
  • Choke when eating or drinking
  • Be a picky eater or eat their food slowly
  • Sleep with their mouth open, snore or grind their teeth

According to the National Institutes of Health, between four and ten percent of infants are born with a tongue-tie. We’re learning now more than ever why breastfeeding is so crucial to a child’s development. If your baby has difficulty latching on to the breast, they may be experiencing a tongue- or lip-tie. 

However, there’s no reason for the bonding between a mother and her child to be disrupted. Frenectomies can improve latch, allowing babies (and mothers) to have a better nursing experience.

Experience Almost Instant Benefits

Thanks to this quick and nearly painless treatment, your child or infant can resume their daily routine right away. Many older children return straight to the playground after their procedure.

Since breast milk contains many healing properties, breastfed infants are encouraged to nurse immediately following the procedure. Our experience has also been that older children who may be picky eaters or children who have difficulty gaining weight will often experience better appetites.

Some smaller children introduce new words to their vocabulary the day of their procedure. Older children will speak clearly with fewer restrictions, boosting their confidence. You can also expect infants and children to sleep throughout the night, improving their behavior during the day.

Happy baby - Rebecca Testa Pediatric Dentistry - Frenectomy

Our office believes oral restrictions shouldn’t hold children back, and tongue and lip-ties are entirely treatable. We invite you to schedule a consult today to learn how a frenectomy can positively impact your family’s future.