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 a 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 the 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 include:
How do I know if my child needs a tongue or lip tie release?
If your child is having difficulties nursing, be sure to visit your family doctor or lactation consultant to make sure that the tongue or lip tie is the issue. Figuring out the cause of these issues and making a plan to remedy it benefits functions such as swallowing, chewing, digestion and breathing for your child. Tongue or lip tie releases can be fixed at the Kneib Dentistry office. Contact us today!
When is the best time to get a lip or tongue tie removal procedure done?
It is best to address tongue and lip tie issues as soon as they are discovered. It can create issues for both mother and child while nursing because it affects how much milk is released. Dental decay of the front teeth due to constant milk exposure can be a concern for those with an upper lip tie. In addition to the technical issues it creates for nursing mothers and babies, it can also lead to long-term issues such as speech impediments, digestive troubles and difficult eating. Make an appointment today to have this issue addressed!
Will my baby need an anesthetic or sedation during lip or tongue tie treatments?
No, the laser treatment used at Kneib Dentistry for lip and tongue tie treatments does not require an anesthetic or sedation. It is precise, does little damage to surrounding tissue, and does not require stitches. Your child may be fussy and cry during and after the procedure, but the area should be less tender in 24-48 hours.
What is the aftercare for a tongue or lip tie release?
Aftercare for a tongue or lip tie release includes gently massaging the area around the wound with clean fingers about 3 times a day. Performing exercises are recommended so as to prevent the reattachment of the frenum. Repeating these stretch exercises several times throughout the day before feedings can be beneficial. If your child experiences a little bit of bleeding when the wound is touched, gently press with a clean cloth or swab. It will take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to fully heal.
Can my baby eat after having a lip or tongue tie release?
Yes, your baby can nurse or bottle-feed after the procedure and it is actually recommended to find good results immediately after the procedure. They may swallow a small amount of blood during the procedure, which can show up as brown in the spit-up or stool. Be sure to give your child some extra love and skin-to-skin contact to comfort them!