Less common than anterior tongue tie, posterior tongue tie is more difficult to diagnose and can go unnoticed by doctors unfamiliar with the different forms of tongue ties. Often the first person to recognize a possible posterior tie would be the midwife, lactation consultant or a feeding therapist (occupational therapist or physiotherapist).
At Gep TOTs Dental Group Tissue clinic, we pride ourselves on being experts at what we do. Our experienced dentists are able to quickly diagnose and treat posterior tongue tie so your baby can feed and grow healthy.
Are you worried your infant or child might have a posterior tongue tie? Keep reading below to learn more about the signs, symptoms and treatments for tongue tie. Or contact us today to book a consultation with our dentist/pediatric dentist.
Does My Child Have Posterior Tongue Tie?
The tongue is anchored down and restricted in movement. However, unlike with the more easily recognized of, anterior tongue tie, a posterior tongue tie can be hidden under the mucus lining of the mouth and is not easily visible without manually lifting the tongue up.
Although not visible, this tricky tongue tie can cause a number of problems for both babies and parents.
Posterior Tongue Tie Symptoms in Babies
Some symptoms of a posterior tongue tie in your baby can include:
- Difficulty latching for breastfeeding
- Clicking sound while nursing
- Gumming or chewing the nipple while nursing
- Excessive drooling
- Reflux or colic
- Choking on milk or pops off breast frequently to gasp for air
- Poor weight gain
- Extended nursing episodes
- Sleep deprivation due to the need for frequent feedings
Because a posterior tongue tie is not visible, the condition is often overlooked during your baby’s newborn exam. An accurate diagnosis is not usually received until later when problems arise with breastfeeding.
Symptoms of Posterior Tongue Tie for Breastfeeding Parents
Because of the deep effects of a posterior tongue tie on a baby’s ability to properly feed, there are many symptoms that become noticeable in a nursing parent as well, such as:
- Severe pain or discomfort during feedings
- Creased, flat or blanched nipples after nursing
- Cracked, blistered or bleeding nipples
- Lipstick shaped nipple
- Low milk supply
- Plugged ducts or mastitis
- Sleep deprivation due to frequent night feedings
Why is it Important to Treat Posterior Tongue Tie?
If your infant or child is diagnosed with a posterior tongue tie, it is important that they receive proper treatment to avoid any serious long-term issues or complications.
Consequences of Untreated Posterior Tongue Tie
When not treated during infancy or early childhood, posterior tongue tie can go on to cause a number of problems for your childhood in later childhood and even into adult life.
Some problems children with untreated tongue experience include:
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing solid foods
- Increased risk of choking or vomiting when eating
- Dribbling or spilling liquids from mouth when drinking
- Delay in speech development
- Improper speech development
- Dental problems including severe tooth decay and improper jaw growth
If your child’s posterior tongue tie remains untreated until adulthood, the symptoms of the condition can cause a number of other complications and problems in adulthood as well.
Some problems adults with untreated tongue tie experience include:
- Inability to properly open their mouth when eating or talking
- Development of speech impairments that can impact self-esteem and confidence levels
- Garbled or unclear speech when they try to speak fast, soft or loud
- Chronic jaw pain
- Dental problems including extreme tooth decay, cavities and inflamed gums
- Protrusion or misalignment of the lower jaw
- Frequent migraines
- Snoring or sleep apnea
- Postural/neck/back tensions
How is Posterior Tongue Tie Treated?
Posterior tongue tie is treated using one of two main methods: scissors or dental laser. At Lasertots, we focus in dental laser treatments for posterior tongue tie and a number of other tongue and lip tie conditions.
How Does Dental Laser Treatment for Posterior Tongue Tie Work?
A soft tissue dental laser is a safe, effective and comfortable option for treatment of tongue ties. This quick method uses light energy to “vaporize” the tie and release the tongue, allowing your child to eat, grow and develop healthy. Though it is not pain-free depending on your child’s age, a simple and short acting freezing will make this a pain-free procedure.
Why Is Dental Laser Treatment the Best Option for my Child?
Dental laser provides a safer and more comfortable option for your child. Soft tissue laser treatment comes with a number of benefits, including:
A Quick Procedure
The main difference between dental laser and scissor treatment for posterior tongue tie is that scissors cut through the tied tissue whereas lasers “vaporize” them. Especially important for posterior ties where it is already hard to visualize, laser treatment can be done with little to no bleeding so that there is a clean visual field for a complete release which cannot always be achieved with scissor release (in an awake patient). The pain from the laser is the heat generated but it is only for duration of seconds and often for infants under 3 months, no local anesthesia is used so that they can feed immediately post-operatiely. Children over 3 months of age, local anesthesia is often required.
A More Sterile Operation
As the dental laser works, it vaporizes and sterilizes the wound as it goes through the tissue. This means that dental lasers are able to control bleeding and minimize the risk of infection.
A Faster Healing Time
Did you know that dental lasers stimulate bio-regeneration and healing? Because the lasers vaporizes the wound immediately, little to no scar tissue is formed. This allows for a speedy recovery so your baby can begin feeding and growing normally right away.
Have you noticed symptoms of posterior tongue tie in you infant or child? Contact our clinic today to speak to our experienced pediatric dentist and learn more about the benefits of dental laser treatment.