Are you concerned that your newborn may have tongue-tie? Approximately 4% of all babies have ankyloglossia, also known as tongue-tie. This is a condition in which the frenulum is too short or connects to the tongue toward the front. The frenulum or frenum is the membrane that connects the skin underneath the tongue.
There are different degrees of the condition, which are determined by how close the frenulum reaches to the tip of the tongue. When the tongue looks heart-shaped along the edge, it’s because the center of the tongue is being pulled back by the frenulum.
Not all tongue ties and lip ties need to be released. However problems can result from tongue-tie, the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome. There are solutions for ankyloglossia, when needed.
A baby’s tongue is supposed to move in wavelike motions, for breastfeeding to be effective, but the motion is difficult for infants with tongue-tie. Babies who are bottle-fed also sometimes have trouble, even though a different type of maneuvering is required to get milk from a bottle.
The amount of struggle a breastfed baby with tongue-tie has is determined by several factors besides the frenulum connection. The elasticity of the mother’s breast tissue, the shape of the breasts, and the size of the mother’s nipples can also affect the ability of a baby with tongue-tie to nurse effectively.
Signs that your newborn is having breastfeeding difficulties caused by tongue-tie:
When a doctor determines that correction is needed, a frenoectomy can be performed surgically with a laser or scissor treatment.
Specialists say the procedure is less traumatic than getting your ears pierced. Babies can breastfeed right after the procedure is completed. Getting a frenectomy is not always a cure for difficulties with breastfeeding. Lactation support may be indicated.
Tongue-Tie Laser Procedure
A dental laser is an approach to removing excess tissue in order to correct an overly restrictive frenum. The procedure can be performed in newborns as young as two days old, and it provides the tongue with freedom of movement. The procedure is gentle, simple, and quick.
As a child with an uncorrected tongue-tie grows older, new complications can arise. These are things a parent may want to consider, when weighing whether or not to have tongue-tie corrected in an infant. The condition can lead to difficulties with making certain sounds in speech. Things like licking the lips, licking an ice cream cone, kissing, or playing a wind instrument may be difficult or impossible. Also, it can be challenging to maintain good oral hygiene. An untreated tongue may also contribute to malocclusion, snoring, gastric reflux and sleep apnea as well as behavioural changes.
Gep TOTs Dental Group specializes in laser treatments for tongue-tie and is located within Woodbridge Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics;; 8099 Weston Rd., Unit 23; Vaughan, Ontario. Contact the Gep TOTs Dental Group today by calling (647) 492-7059, if you are concerned that your newborn has tongue-tie.