Tongue Ties: A Small Matter With Big Effects

  • October 21, 2016

Being tongue-tied is a real medical condition. It affects roughly 1 in 10 babies to one degree or another. Fortunately, it’s easily treated, and you can get treatment at a dentist office in Lexington, KY.

With the help of a dental laser, Dr. Patricia Takacs of Beaumont Family Dentistry can help your child and prevent the consequences that being tongue-tied or lip-tied could have on your son or daughter.

We receive referrals to help babies who may be in need of this treatment, and we are happy to help whenever we can.

 

Short-Term Consequences

Being tongue-tied is a result of how and where the frenulum is attached to your child’s tongue. The frenulum is a piece of muscle that connection your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. This can limit movement of the tongue.

Someone who is lip-tied had tissue that connects their upper lip to their gum tissue. This can affect the range of movement of someone’s lips.

Both of these can have immediate consequences, such as affecting your baby’s ability to feed properly. If your child cannot feed effectively, then he or she may not gain weight like you would expect. Likewise, your baby may not be getting the nutrition that he or she needs to develop and grow.

For mothers who breastfeed, this can affect you as well. You may feel pain, especially if your baby chews rather than sucks on the nipple. If you are not able to release enough milk, this can affect milk production as well.

The effects of this aren’t just physical. They can affect parents psychologically as well. You may feel as if you are doing something wrong if your child is unable to feed or unable to gain weight.

 

Long-Term Consequences

The short-term effects of tongue and lip ties are far from the only potential consequences.

More than likely, a person will a tongue or lip tie will figure out a way to eat and drink, but there can be long-term effects from inadequate nutrition during the developmental years.

From a dental standpoint, tongue and lips ties can affect your child’s oral health as well. The normal movements of our tongue assist in removing food particles from our mouths.

At the same time, your son or daughter may not be able to brush or floss correctly if their limited tongue movement interferes with these actions.

Tongue and lip ties can affect speech patterns as well. If your children cannot move their tongue or lips in certain ways, then they may not be able to make specific sounds. This can prevent them from being able to pronounce certain words.

This can take an emotional toll on your son or daughter as they get older. They may be embarrassed by this, and unfortunately, other children may make fun of them for this reason.

The limited tongue and lip movements can make otherwise common activities — licking an ice cream cone, playing certain musical instruments, or kissing a spouse — more difficult as well.

 

Using Lasers To Fix Tongue And Lip Ties

As we mentioned above, we receive referrals from doctors who treat babies who are having difficulty latching on to breastfeed correctly. We are able to treat this condition with the use of laser dentistry.

At one time, correcting lip and tongue ties meant surgery. A doctor would use a scalpel to physically cut the frenulum under the tongue or near the lip to allow greater freedom of movement.

As you might suspect, this could be painful and cause bleeding. To prevent pain, babies would be sedated, and sutures were often required. In the long-run, this may have been a beneficial procedure, but it could be difficult for every member of the family. Using laser dentistry, we have a new way of correcting this problem.

Dental lasers are designed to be used on soft tissues. Instead of cutting the tissue, the dental laser will loosen the tissue gently and gradually. We won’t have to use sedation since the dental laser is practically pain-free.

After your baby is swaddled, he or she will be held while one of our dentists loosens the tissue causing the tie. It takes about a minute to complete this procedure for each frenulum.

After we are finished, we encourage the mother to nurse the baby. This is done to encourage your child to start relearning how to nurse.

We will explain what to do after the treatment to prevent the tissue from reattaching the tongue or lip tie reforming.

 

Family Dentists From An Early Age

Family care is so important to us that we put it in the name of our practice. Lip and tongue tie treatments are just one of the ways Beaumont Family Dentistry can assist every member of your family if you live in Central Kentucky.

To learn more about this or any of our services, call any of our dentist offices in Lexington, KY, or use our online form to request an appointment.

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