Some children are born with extra tissue called frenum under their tongue or upper lip. These are called tongue-ties and lip-ties and can cause difficulty with speech, breastfeeding, weight gain, and even dental decay.
If not treated during childhood, the adverse effects of tongue and lip-ties can follow children into adulthood. Headaches, neck and shoulder pain, sleep issues, and speech problems are all signs of untreated tongue and lip-ties.
Infants with tongue and lip-ties may:
– Have difficulty nursing or taking a bottle
– Drip milk out of their mouth when eating
– Have trouble gaining weight
– Click their tongue or smack their lips when eating
– Have reflux or symptoms of colic
– Be continually fussy, often due to gas
Older children with tongue and lip-ties may:
– Have trouble sleeping
– Experience a strong gag reflex
– Have delayed speech
– Speak softer than average or have difficulty being understood
– Choke when eating or drinking
– Be a picky eater or eat their food slowly
– Sleep with their mouth open, snore or grind their teeth
According to the National Institutes of Health, between four and ten percent of infants are born with a tongue-tie. We’re learning now more than ever why breastfeeding is so crucial to a child’s development. If your baby has difficulty latching on to the breast, they may be experiencing a tongue- or lip-tie.
However, there’s no reason for the bonding between a mother and her child to be disrupted. Frenectomies can improve latch, allowing babies (and mothers) to have a better nursing experience.
A frenectomy is the release of the frenum to allow for added range of motion. This quick and straightforward procedure is the first step toward a healthier child.
In the past, most frenectomies were performed by a doctor using a scalpel under general anesthesia and left children with stitches. Infants were often denied this procedure due to the risks of babies undergoing anesthesia.
However, modern laser technology allows us to perform frenectomies in our office with no anesthesia. These treatments take just a few minutes, don’t require stitches, and leave patients with little to no bleeding or swelling.
Thanks to this quick and nearly painless treatment, your child or infant can resume their daily routine right away. Many older children return straight to the playground after their procedure.
Since breast milk contains many healing properties, breastfed infants are encouraged to nurse immediately following the procedure. Our experience has also been that older children who may be picky eaters or children who have difficulty gaining weight will often experience better appetites.
Some smaller children introduce new words to their vocabulary the day of their procedure. Older children will speak clearly with fewer restrictions, boosting their confidence. You can also expect infants and children to sleep throughout the night, improving their behavior during the day.
Our office believes oral restrictions shouldn’t hold children back, and tongue and lip-ties are entirely treatable. We invite you to schedule a consultation today to learn how a frenectomy can positively impact your family’s future.