What is a tongue-tie?
With tongue-tie, an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) tethers the bottom of the tongue's tip to the floor of the mouth. A person who has tongue-tie might have difficulty sticking out or lifting his or her tongue. Tongue-tie can also affect the way a child eats, speaks and swallows, as well as interfere with breastfeeding.
What is a lip-tie?
Lip-tie refers to an abnormal attachment of the upper lip to the maxillary gingival (gum) tissue. The tissue that attaches the lip to the gum tissue is called the frenum. An abnormal frenum can appear unusually heavy, broad or attached too near the crest of the ridge, resulting in several possible problems including, but not limited to, breastfeeding challenges.
Diagnosis for Treatment
Diagnosis is based on clinical appearance as well as a discussion to see how some of the following symptoms may be present.
- No or un-sustained latch, unable to hold pacifier in mouth
- Prolonged feeding sessions
- Unsatisfied after long feedings
- Falls asleep on breast
- Gumming or chewing of the nipple
- Poor weight gain, failure to thrive
- Creased, flattened or blanched nipples
- Bleeding nipples
- Painful latch
- Incomplete breast drainage
- Infected or plugged ducts
- Mastitis or Thrush
Any frenectomy procedure is always preceded by a consultation with the parents about how the ties might be affecting the child and what the potential benefits may be, at which point the parents can choose how they would like to proceed.
Tongue and lip-tie revisions are completed quickly in office without anesthesia using laser technology. A topical numbing gel is placed on the area to be revised before the procedure. Nursing mothers are encouraged to stay in a private room for as long as needed for nursing immediately following the procedure.
Benefits of Laser Frenectomy
- The laser "vaporizes" rather than cuts the tissue
- Very little discomfort is experienced
- There is almost no bleeding
- Less risk of infection
- Very quick healing time as the laser stimulates bio-regeneration and healing