A tight lower tongue frenum attachment may restrict the mobility of the tongue and appears as a cupping or heart-shaped tongue when the tongue is elevated. This can result in the inability to get the tongue under the nipple to create a suction to draw out milk. Long term, a tongue tie can result in speech problems and/or issues later with transferring food around the mouth for chewing.
A tight upper lip frenum attachment may compromise full lip flanging and appear as a tight, tense, upper lip during nursing. This can result in a shallow latch during breastfeeding. Additionally, the tight upper lip may trap milk, resulting in constant contact of milk to the front teeth, and possibly lead to dental decay. If the frenum attaches close to the ridge or into a palate, a future diastema (gap between the teeth) can also occur.
Some babies can have tongue or lip ties and not be symptomatic. To know if the ties are a problem, we ask two major questions: "Is the baby getting enough to eat?" and "Is nursing comfortable for the mother?"
A frenectomy is the procedure used to correct a congenital condition when the lingual (tongue) or labial (lip) frenulum is tight, resulting in restriction of function. This may potentially result in difficulty of breastfeeding and other concerns such as dental, digestive, and speech issues. If your lactation consultant or doctor feels that this procedure is warranted, then your baby may have a tongue and/or lip tie.
Babies tolerate the procedure very well, and we will try to ensure that discomfort is minimized.
It is common for babies to cry and/or act fussy during and after the procedure. Babies typically lose only a small amount of blood, if any at all. Once your baby is treated they are returned immediately to you. Please feel free to nurse, bottle-feed and cuddle your baby, depending on your preference.
If your baby does swallow a small amount of blood, he or she may have brown spit-ups or stool after the procedure.
The laser is a much kinder method of revision, unlike electrosurgery, which actually burns the tissue, and the scalpel which cuts deeper than needed. There is little damage to adjacent tissue when using the laser, therefore healing is quicker and less post-operative discomfort occurs. In reality, the procedure is simpler and quicker than a filling, requiring no anesthesia or stitches!
Additional benefits are: