Some of the best nursery rhymes, like the one about Peter Piper and his peck of pickled peppers, are meant to be fun tongue twisters. But being tongue-tied is more than just a figure of speech. In fact, between 4-11% of babies are born with a condition called ankyloglossia, or tongue-tie.
What is a Tongue-Tie?
Everyone is born with a soft tissue that attaches your tongue to the floor of your mouth, and your lips to your gums. These bands are called frenulums, and they are essentially the anchors of our mouths, keeping our tongue and lips stable and in place.
On occasion, children are born with an abnormally tight, thick, and short frenulum, causing limited mobility. This is what is known as a tongue or lip-tie.
Problems Tied to the Condition
With a shorter frenulum, children (and adults if the issue is not solved early on) will find themselves facing certain frustrating limitations.
Some of these limitations and side effects may include:
- Speech impediments
- Delay in language developments
- Difficulty with breastfeeding or eating in general (some signs of this may include not latching, leaking milk from the mouth while eating, or clicking and smacking noises while eating)
- A hard time sleeping
Because there are many other factors that could cause these same problems, oftentimes a tongue or lip-tie can go unnoticed as other temporary solutions are found for the side effects. This is why it is important that your pediatrician or lactation consultant take a look at your child’s frenulum if they are experiencing any of the issues listed above.
Luckily, once discovered, there is a quick and easy fix to a tongue or lip-tie! With a frenectomy, a pediatric dentist can safely treat your child’s frenulum and get them healed in no time.
A frenectomy was initially performed using traditional surgical methods and this procedure, while effective, took longer to heal, and was more painful.
Here, at SCV Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, we are happy to offer laser frenectomies! By utilizing a laser, we can treat your child’s tongue or lip-tie quickly and safely in the office.
Some of the benefits include:
- No need for sedation!
- It can be done within minutes and done so safely right in our offices.
- Minimally invasive — some children even sleep through it!
- Quicker healing compared to traditional methods.
How SCV Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics Can Help
Breastfeeding when your little one has tongue or lip-tie can be painful for the mother and frustrating for the infant. And as parents, we never want to see our children upset or uncomfortable. A laser frenectomy is a fast and safe way to not only improve latching and breastfeeding tenfold but improve your little one’s life for years to come.
“We suspected our newborn had a tongue-tie, due to a shallow and painful latch, and we were able to schedule an appointment very easily, even though we’d never been there before. Upon arriving, the support staff was warm and welcoming and so was Dr. Justin. They were all professional, knowledgeable and also wanted to make us feel welcomed and at ease— great bedside manner.
Dr. Justin did our consultation and confirmed our baby had a posterior tongue-tie and a slight lip-tie. He took the time to talk through what the procedure to release the tie would be like, and also showed a video of before, during and after the procedure of a child whose issue was similar to our child’s.
My husband and I already knew that we wanted our child to have the procedure done if a tie was present, so once we agreed to it, the doctor was able to perform the procedure, same day, while we were there. It was a very quick procedure and all went well.
Here’s the best part...I wasn’t able to nurse my baby immediately afterward because she was so drowsy, so I waited until I got home to try, and I kid you not, the nursing experience was like night and day!! Before, trying to nurse her was extremely painful to me and so frustrating for her as well. And almost like magic, an hour after the procedure was done, she latched without a problem, and I was in no pain whatsoever while nursing her. Thank you Dr. Justin!”
If you suspect your child has a tongue or lip-tie, schedule an appointment with us. We’ll confirm the diagnosis and walk you through the procedure. Once the procedure is finished, we welcome you to consult with one of our certified lactation specialists for help with nursing!