Just for Kids Dentistry of Forney
Board-Certified Pediatric Specialists
215 S. FM 548 Ste B
Forney, TX 75126
Ph: 972-564-2222
Fax: 972-564-2322

info@justforkidsforney.com |

Tongue and Lip Ties

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What is a Tongue Tie and Lip Tie?

Ankyloglossia, more commonly known as a tongue tie, is when the band of tissue underneath the tongue (frenum) tethers the tongue to the floor of the mouth in such a way that restricts proper movement. This can affect a child’s nursing, eating, hygiene, and speech, all to varying degrees.

A lip tie is when the frenum attaching the lip to the gums is tight and/or very thick. This can occur in conjunction with a tongue tie or by itself. Lip ties can also cause issues with nursing, eating, hygiene, and speech. In addition, a significant lip tie can cause the cosmetic problem of a large gap between the front teeth.

The earliest reason for a lip tie and tongue tie to be identified is issues with breastfeeding.

Symptoms of a Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

The following are some of the most common findings with an infant lip tie and tongue tie:

Baby

  • Poor quality latch
  • Falling asleep while nursing
  • Sliding off breast
  • Colic
  • Reflux
  • Gumming/chewing
  • Poor weight gain

Mother

  • Low milk supply
  • Nipple damage and severe pain
  • Incomplete emptying with each feed
  • Mastitis

These issues can create many challenges for a new mother and infant. The act of breastfeeding is very natural and instinctual, and it helps create a nurturing bond between mother and infant. Revising a lip tie and/or tongue tie can be very successful in alleviating or eliminating these barriers to nursing.

What is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a procedure where a band of tissue (frenum) is released to allow for a better range of motion.

After a thorough evaluation and discussion with the family regarding the goals that you have for your infant, the dentist may recommend a tongue and/or lip frenectomy to help alleviate the restricted range of motion and associated symptoms. This procedure is done with soft tissue laser, which has the following benefits: antibacterial, little to no bleeding, quick recovery time, and no stitches. A laser frenectomy does not require general anesthetic and can be done in our office. A small amount of local anesthetic is put on the frenum and surrounding tissues, and then the laser vaporizes, cauterizes, and sterilizes the tissue at the same time.

What to Expect Post-Frenectomy

Following a frenectomy, breastfeeding can be resumed at any time. Do not be alarmed if changes are not seen immediately, as the surgical site is still numb for 30-45 minutes. Also, there may be some mild soreness for 1-2 days. Over the span of a week, most babies showed marked improvement in their breastfeeding, along with added comfort for the mother.

The surgical site will appear as a small diamond shape with a yellow-gray coloring, similar to the appearance of a wet scab. Post-operative stretching exercises will be recommended to aid in preventing reattachment of the frenum. These exercises are very important, as this helps tissue to heal in a more favorable position and help prevent reattachment.

If your child is fussy or restless post-surgery, breastfeeding and comforting them is recommended. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be given as needed for discomfort. Additional work with a lactation consultant, craniosacral therapist, or chiropractor may be effective in improving breastfeeding as well.

If you feel that you child is being affected by a lip and/or tongue tie and would like to have this evaluated by Dr. Joe Parker, please call 972-564-2222.

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