Tongue Tied? Try Laser Treatment

Babies are sometimes born with a condition called ankyloglossia, better known as tongue tie. In some cases, this is accompanied by lip adhesion (lip tie) although lip tie can exist separately as well. Children who suffer from these conditions often have problems with nursing. The baby may be unable to latch on or the nursing mom may have major pain during nursing.

The Problems Caused by Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

Nursing issues may lead a mother to give up and switch to formula, depriving her of a very special and important bonding experience with her child. Mothers may have bleeding, cracked, and very sore nipples. Mastitis and nipple thrush can be common.

Feeding issues can eventually result in underweight babies and may also cause other health problems as a result of this. Babies with tongue tie and lip tie may fall asleep while they try to nurse, or may continually slide off the breast. Children may often make clicking noises as they nurse, or may seem to gulp frequently while nursing. They may also have symptoms of acid reflux or colic. Many children who have tongue tie or lip tie aren’t able to keep a pacifier in their mouth.

These problems don’t have to occur, however. Tongue tie and lip tie can be remedied with a simple type of LASER treatment today. LASER treatment can be done as an outpatient procedure with very minimal discomfort.

The Laser Solution For Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

Tongue tie and lip tie is corrected with a LASER frenectomy. During this procedure, the laser will essentially release the lip or tongue from the bindings that are restricting movement. There is no age requirement for this procedure, as it is considered safe for even young babies. The whole procedure is done in the office, so there is no hospital stay or complicated operation. A local anesthetic may be needed, depending on the age of the child. There are typically no stitches needed. When the lip or tongue is freed from its bindings, the tissue will rarely bleed significantly or even at all. Breastfeeding can resume again whenever the mom and baby are ready.

When Tongue Tie and Lip Tie Aren’t Repaired

In cases where the baby’s tongue tie or lip tie was not repaired, some major long term issues can result. Children with lip tie or tongue tie may have a gap between their front teeth, and may also experienced receding gums. It is also common for babies with lip or tongue tie to get food and debris trapped next to the teeth, which encourages the growth of bacteria in the mouth. These problems can cause serious dental issues over time in addition to being aesthetically displeasing.

Although most children don’t develop speech impediments, some children with untreated lip tie or tongue tie will have problems with sound articulation when they reach their toddler years. If children who are 4 years old aren’t easily understood over 50 percent of the time, they should be evaluated by a speech pathologist. In some cases, the speech pathologist will determine that untreated lip or tongue tie is contributing to or even the main cause of the speech issues. Treatment can be fast and easy, even in older children. While it’s best to treat lip tie or tongue tie as soon as possible, a child of any age can have this LASER based treatment if it’s needed.

After Tongue Tie Treatment: No Longer Tongue Tied

After a LASER frenectomy, young patients and their moms often experience immediate and dramatic results. Breastfeeding can become an easy, natural, and wonderful experience for both mom and baby once again. Babies who had poor weight gain due to inability to latch to the nipple will be able to gain weight at a normal rate. Moms will no longer have terrible pain, bleeding, and blistering of the nipples because the baby is now able to latch on properly.

The treatment also offers long term results in terms of speech development and oral health. Children who have the LASER frenectomy for tongue tie and lip tie will be able to develop speech at a normal rate and will be better able to practice good oral hygiene.

Interested in this procedure for your child, or wondering if your baby is a candidate for LASER frenectomy? Call the dedicated team at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to set up a consultation. We look forward to meeting you and your child!