Treating Lip and Tongue-Ties
Feeding a baby comfortably and efficiently is the most important aspect of a newborn’s life and a precious experience for a new mom. Lip and tongue-ties are not a new problem. In fact, a lip or tongue-tie is one of the main reasons given to Moms to wean her child to a bottle instead of breastfeeding. However, in the past decade, there has been increased awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding. This awareness has allowed breastfeeding to become more popular again, while also bringing more attention to the problems associated with breastfeeding, such as lip and tongue-ties.
A normal frenum is a connective band bringing two soft tissue pieces together. In some cases, if that band connects too low or tight is may result in a condition known as a tongue-tie or a lip-tie. These conditions can jeopardize the beautiful nursing relationship between a mother and her newborn. A frenectomy procedure allows a baby to freely use their lip and tongue for an efficient, effective, and comfortable feeding experience.
Consequences of Untreated Lip and Tongue-Ties
Feeding Issues – Many children struggle with transitioning from milk to purees or table foods. While some become picky eaters and have difficulty managing variable texture of table foods.
Dental Issues – Cavities seen on the front part of the incisors or recession of gums near the midline are often attributable to lip-ties. Cavities on the chewing surface of the molars are often seen in patients that have a tongue-tie and never developed the reflex to clean out the sticky foods after snacks or meals.
Speech Issues – Many children develop air management and speech clarity or articulation problems due to limited range or motion and elevation of all parts of the tongue required to produce various sounds–l/th d/n, st/sr/kh/gh, m/p/b and so on.
Sleep Issues – Disordered breathing and sleep apnea are often seen in children that cannot manage the proper posture and tone of the tongue muscle due to restrictions or ties. Snoring, exhaustion, grinding of teeth, attention deficit disorders, and behavioral issues are all now being connected back to sleep disordered breathing in the literature.
How Are Tongue-Ties and Lip-Ties Treated Today?
Thanks to the great advances in laser technology, most technologically-savvy and up-to-date healthcare providers are educated on the laser’s properties and why they are highly favorable in soft issue procedures. Waterlaser allows dentists to provide desensitization, coagulation and cooling as it separates the tissue. The laser light beam is precisely controlled for the most thorough and safe procedure. Waterlaser virtually eliminates the need for scalpel, sutures, or anesthetic in infant frenectomy cases. The newborns treated can feed immediately after the procedure for comfort. Moms report significant difference in personal comfort, baby’s consumption, and efficiency while nursing or bottle-feeding.