Causes of Tongue-Tie
Signs and Symptoms of Tongue-Tie
Some babies with tongue-ties and lip-ties are able to attach to the breast and suck well. However, many of these infants have breastfeeding problems. The following signs are common amongst infants with tongue and lip-ties and their mothers. However, it is important to note that these signs can be linked to other breastfeeding problems and are not solely related to ties.
Infants may exhibit:
- Noisy suckling or clicking
- Popping on and off the breast
- Leaking on the sides of the mouth
- Poor weight gain
- Coughing or gagging
- Lip blisters
- Gas pain
- Noisy breathing/snoring sounds when sleeping
- Reflux or colic symptoms
Mothers may experience
- Flattened nipples after breastfeeding
- Nipple pain and damage
- Prolonged feedings
- Poor breast drainage
- Decreased milk production
Risk Factors for Tongue-Tie
Complications of Tongue-Tie
Tongue-tie can affect a baby’s development, as well as the way a developing child eats, speaks, and swallows.
Breastfeeding Problems. If an infant is unable to achieve a successful latch, this can ultimately lead to inadequate nutrition and failure for an infant to thrive.
Speech Difficulties. While tongue-tie doesn’t interfere with a child’s ability to speak, it can interfere with a child’s ability to make certain sounds such as “t,” “d,” “z,” “s,” “th,” “r,”, and “l.”
Eating Problems. Tongue-tie can interfere with a child’s ability to lick ice cream or a lollipop. Even licking the lips, or playing an instrument can be difficult for a child with a tongue-tie condition.
Poor Oral Hygiene. Tongue-tie can prevent a child from being able to use its tongue to remove food debris from a tooth. Over time, this could lead to tooth decay.
Diagnosis of Tongue-Tie
During your consultation with Dr. Reece, she will examine the condition of your baby’s lingual frenulum to score various aspects of the tongue’s appearance and ability to move.
Many babies who have tongue-tie, also have lip-tie. Dr. Reece will often evaluate these together.
Treatment for Tongue-Tie
Not all children with tongue-tie need surgery. If Dr. Reece suspects that tongue-tie is causing problems for your child, she may recommend a surgical procedure.
Frenectomy. A frenectomy involves the removal of the frenum from the mouth. Dr. Reece can perform this procedure with a pain-free laser treatment. The laser cauterizes the wound as it cuts, allowing for a short recovery period.
If you suspect your child has a tongue-tie condition, contact Advanced Dentistry of Kearney at (308) 237-1311 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Reece.
Tongue-Tie Release FAQs
Dr. Reece recommends that tongue-tie release surgery be performed soon after a newborn is diagnosed because it will help alleviate any issues with breastfeeding.
For a frenectomy, a topical numbing gel may be applied once or twice before the procedure or a small amount of local anesthesia may be injected. Anesthesia is not always necessary for this procedure.
Typically, tongue-tie laser surgery takes 1 to 2 minutes.
It can take up to 2-4 weeks for patients to heal from tongue-tie laser surgery.
Because there are few nerve endings in the area to be cut, the patient may experience only mild discomfort. If your baby is rather fussy after the procedure, talk to Dr. Reece about prescribing over-the-counter pain medicine.
While a frenum cannot grow back, it can reattach if you don’t follow the after-care exercises Dr. Reece gives you to stretch your baby’s lips and tongue in the weeks after the procedure. These exercises will help prevent frenulum reattachment.
Stitches are not normally required for tongue-tie laser surgery in infants, as the laser neatly and precisely cuts the soft tissue. In procedures with older children and adults, sutures are commonly placed.
Dr. Reece has a passion for working with kids, and we can’t wait to welcome your family as we start an exciting journey of quality oral health for a lifetime!
If your child is having any pediatric dental issues, call Advanced Dentistry of Kearney at (308) 237-1311 to schedule an appointment.