What Can Be Done For A Tongue Tie?

  • February 16, 2017

Our Lexington, KY dentist’s office is equipped to help patients at every stage of life. We always like to warn our patients who are about to become parents that, even before a child has teeth, there is dangerous bacteria on the loose in their mouth. But today, we wanted to talk about a different sort of problem that can pose a real threat to your baby’s health and happiness: a tongue tie. Keep reading to hear all about it, and find out why Dr. Takacs is the go-to dentist in the Bluegrass region for fixing the underlying issues. Then be sure to follow up to schedule your consultation with our team.

A Challenging Situation For Baby & You

Here’s the deal: under your tongue and inside of your upper lip is a piece of skin called the frenum. Ever heard of it? Probably not. But it is an essential component nonetheless. When frenums function properly, you can pull your upper lip away from your teeth, lift your tongue, and never have any trouble whatsoever. However, some babies are born with what we call a tight frenum. This just means that there is little to no movement for the tongue or lip. That is never good.

We call this a tongue or lip tie because the tongue or lip is attached when it should be free. Why does this matter? It is a big-time nutritional concern. You see, both conditions make nursing challenging because your new arrival cannot create the necessary suction around the nipple of the breast or bottle.

Telltale Signs

Obviously, your baby can not articulate their thoughts or frustrations. That said, you might notice that your baby has a poor latch, slides off the nipple, shows symptoms of colic, experiences reflux, has poor weight gain, is unable to take a pacifier, or chews on the nipple.

There are also some telltale signs that can show up on Mom. For instance, if you are nursing, you might notice that you have creased or cracked nipples, bleeding nipples, infection, plugged ducts, mastitis, or thrush. You also might notice that the baby never seems sated, and your breasts never seem to empty out.

What Can A Dentist Do?

You will find that, at Beaumont Family Dentistry, we do a whole lot more than just clean teeth. Once we have identified the cause of your baby’s eating difficulty, it will be time to decide on the best plan for treatment.

There are essentially two options. The first is a more surgical approach. Your baby would be sedated, and a scalpel would be used to loosen the frenums. Sutures are often needed to promote healing, and many babies experience discomfort from this process.

While there is a time and place for that kind of approach, we like to recommend a much more comfortable treatment option: laser therapy. During this forward-looking procedure, your baby is swaddled and held carefully by our team. Younger babies are perfectly safe to be fully awake because the treatment does not cause any pain. We simply use a laser to loosen the frenums and give your baby mobility in the lip and/or tongue. Each frenum takes about a minute to treat, and then you are given the baby to immediately nurse.

Fair warning: it may take a few tries before Baby relearns how to nurse with a newly freed tongue or lip, but we can show you techniques to help your baby adjust fast.

Let Us Help!

To learn more about pediatric dentistry and tongue-tie solutions, contact one of our convenient Lexington, KY locations today! Hamburg: 859-554-1612, Leestown: 859-554-4049, Beaumont: 859-554-1772!

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