Lip and tongue-ties are not as uncommon as you might think. Although many individuals never experience issues, others experience challenges that start during infancy. When tethered oral tissues (TOTS) make it difficult for breastfeeding mothers to nurse their children effectively, it can create a range of emotions and issues that affect both the mother and baby. This is why Hyland Dental is pleased to offer laser frenectomies to improve oral movement and overall health. Call us if you think your child might be suffering from a lip or tongue-tie.
A lip or tongue-tie forms while a baby is still in the womb. As the frenulum, which is the band of tissue located behind the upper lip and/or underneath the tongue, forms, it will usually extend over time and allow the baby to move their tongue and/or lip freely. However, if this does not happen, it can restrict a baby’s oral movement, making it difficult to perform normal tasks such as nursing or taking a bottle.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with a lip or tongue-tie include:
Babies who do not have their lip or tongue-tie treated can face several challenges, one of the most important being the inability to nurse. When the tongue and/or lip are restricted in any way, it prevents the infant from being able to establish a successful latch. As a result, they cannot get the milk needed to ensure proper nutrients and weight gain.
Over time, this can cause painful nursing attempts with mothers becoming depressed and babies frustrated.
Seeking treatment for your baby’s lip or tongue-tie will immediately allow for a greater range of motion so that they can begin to eat normally, eliminating the challenges that were once in the way.
If a lip or tongue-tie is not treated during infancy, it can pose potential problems as children grow older, such as the inability to eat certain foods, mouth breathing (which can lead to sleep-disordered breathing), and speech impediments.
Watching your baby struggle with a lip or tongue-tie does not have to be your reality thanks to a procedure known as a frenectomy.
At Hyland Dental, we use a soft tissue laser to gently and quickly release the tethered tissues so that the tongue and/or lip can begin to move freely. When performing this type of procedure, we will ensure that your baby is calm and comfortable. The laser’s precise laser works quickly to lacerate the tissue while reducing the amount of bleeding, swelling, and possible post-operative infection.
When it comes to making sure your baby is ready for a frenectomy, you’ll want to spend much of your time providing them with plenty of attention. This helps to keep them calm. It is also helpful if you feed your baby before their procedure (1-1.5 hours before), as this will increase the chances of them being hungry following the frenectomy, making it easier to encourage nursing.
Maintaining an upbeat attitude is helpful, as babies are observant, so they can easily pick up on any fear or stress you might be experiencing.
It is also helpful to incorporate some exercises so that your baby begins to use their tongue to create suction (i.e., allowing them to suck on your finger).
Although it is natural to want to be in the room with your child during this process, it is better if you wait outside. The reason is that the child can become distracted, or you may become squeamish by what you’re looking at. Children pick up on parents’ behaviors and will respond accordingly, which can make the procedure more difficult.
Our team at Hyland Dental can more easily focus solely on your child if you wait outside. But don’t worry, as we will let you back in immediately after we finish so that you can be with your child.
One of the greatest benefits of frenectomies is that they only take a few minutes to complete. This is great news, especially when it comes to an infant. Because we use a soft tissue laser, the procedure itself is fast and effective. However, if the lip and tongue tissues both need to be released, it will naturally take slightly longer.
When meeting with our team about your child’s frenectomy, you can expect that we will discuss the length of time they will spend in the dentist’s chair before being able to return home.
Many parents with babies who are receiving frenectomies want to know when they can begin nursing following the procedure. The good news is that it can begin immediately after. Our team at Hyland Dental will allow you and your child time to nurse, encouraging the new movement of their lip and tongue. It’s not uncommon for there to be a bit of a struggle initially; however, the moment your child realizes that they have greater oral motion, they will begin to nurse or take a bottle more easily, making the feeding process much more enjoyable for everyone.