Tongue-tie is a condition present at birth that causes a range of problems, and a simple procedure called a “frenectomy” is the best treatment.Tongue-tie is when the tongue is restricted because it’s connected too tightly to the floor of the mouth by connective tissue called the “frenulum.” The condition is often misunderstood, even among physicians and other health professionals who work in Labor and Delivery. This is unfortunate, since the most beneficial time to treat tongue-tie is when a baby is still a newborn.
Immediate Problems Caused by Tongue-Tie
The most serious problem caused by tongue-tie beginning at birth is that breastfeeding is very difficult and causes mom excessive pain. The baby’s tongue doesn’t have the needed freedom and movement to properly breastfeed.
In trying to nurse, babies find that it’s too painful. They end up making compensations in their attempt to get nourishment. Whether they simply take much longer than usual to nurse, purse their lips, or limit how far their mouths are opened because of tongue tie, the ultimate result is unsuccessful breastfeeding. Babies typically fail to thrive. Some with the muscle strength and ability to stay awake for lengthy feedings usually manage to maintain proper weight, but the ordeal is too painful for moms, who are compelled to stop breastfeeding prematurely.
The following are more signs that an infant has tongue-tie. The baby:
- Has difficulty latching on
- Needs frequent or extended feeds
- Biting or grinding when feeding
- Low weight
- Slips off the breast while nursing
- Dribbles or makes clicking sounds while breastfeeding
- Vomits after nursing
- The tip of the tongue can’t reach the roof of the mouth
- Difficulty licking lips
- Swallowing problems
- Impaired tongue mobility
Long-term results of tongue-tie include narrow dental arches, malocclusion (a misaligned bite), cavities, mouth breathing, and sleep disturbance problems.
What is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a procedure to treat tongue tie in which the tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is disconnected, allowing the tongue to freely move. Neither a scalpel nor stitches are needed, thanks to advancements in technology. A frenectomy performed with a laser is quick and precise, and no anesthesia is needed. The entire procedure is typically performed in about three minutes.
Frenectomies are performed with a very high success rate. Any discomfort during the healing process is typically treated with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Contact the Experts at GEP TOTs Dental Group / Woodbridge Orthopedics
A team of specialists in the Greater Toronto Area are experts at diagnosing and treating infants and children with tongue-tie and the other form of tethered oral tissue (TOT), lip tie.
If your newborn has difficulties feeding and possibly other symptoms of tongue-tie, consult our professionals at GEP TOTs Dental Group / Woodbridge Orthodontics as soon as possible. The healing time for a frenectomyis quicker and post-operative pain is minimized when a baby is still in the newborn stage. Contact us online or call (803) 223-7655 for an appointment with our dental specialists. There are many immediate and long-term issues that will be resolved with a frenectomy, if your child has tongue-tie.