Tongue-, Lip-Tie Can Hurt Your Nursing Baby
Our staff at Beaumont Family Dentistry in Lexington is dedicated to providing dental care for every member of your family. We want to help your children, no matter how young.
We help teenagers with orthodontic care. We monitor your children’s teeth for problems when their baby teeth start falling out and their adult teeth begin coming in.
We can even help your newborns before they have any teeth with one of our newest services — laser tongue tie and lip tie correction.
Tongue-tie or lip-tie affects about 10 percent of infants, and it can affect their ability to nurse or feed from a bottle. Our laser correction treatment is a safe and effective way to help your children be as healthy as they can be.
The Problems With Tongue-Ties
As a fetus grows in the womb, it develops frenums (which are also called frenulums). These bits of tissue connect the tongue to the floor of your baby’s mouth, according to Breastfeeding USA.
If your baby has too much of this tissue, he or she may have difficulty moving his or her tongue. This limitation may prevent him or her from breastfeeding. It can also affect his or her ability to use a pacifier or drink from a bottle.
This can affect you as a nursing mother as well. Some babies will compensate for their limited tongue movement by sucking harder, which can cause injuries to the nursing mother.
This also can affect the baby’s ability to latch onto the breast, which may affect how much milk they receive. In a real sense, it affects the nutrition they receive, which can have a great impact on their health.
Tongue-ties are groups into one of four classes.
Class I tongue-ties are when the tie is at the tip of the baby’s tongue.
Class II tongue-ties are behind the tip of the tongue, while Class III ties are closer to the base of your baby’s tongue. Class IV ties are more difficult to identify by site, and baby’s with this kind of tongue tie are sometimes misdiagnosed as having short tongues.
Lip-ties follow a similar classification system, depending on where the tissue is connected and how extensive the connection is.
Treating Your Baby’s Tongue- Or Lip-Tie
We perform tongue- and tip-tie corrections on babies who have been referred to our office. Our goal is to help your baby have full use of his or her tongue. This will improve his or her ability to nurse and thus to receive the nutrition he or she need.
At our office, we use a laser in our treatment. We have made a decision to pursue this because it is painless for your child and just as effective as surgical treatment.
You baby is swaddled and held comfortably during a laser treatment. With the laser, we are able to loosen the frenums so your child has the full range of motion of his or her tongue.
The other option is to perform surgery. This requires your baby to be sedated, and then a scalpel is used to cut the frenums loose. While this is effective, this is a more discomforting experience for your little one.
After we finish your baby’s laser treatment, we ask you to nurse. Our goal is to help your baby relearn how to nurse.
Before you go home, we will show you how to stretch the area so the frenum does not come back together as it heals.
Long-term Benefits For Your Baby
In everyday language, when someone is described as tongue-tied, it’s generally not meant as a physical description. The more common definition is a reference to someone who is shy or unable to speak.
On the physical side, you will want to know that tongue-tie laser treatment will greatly reduce your child’s risk of having eating or speech problems later in life.
As with many potential problems, it’s easier to treat them early instead of later. By bringing your children to our office, we can fix their problems before they have any memory of it, and as children and adults, they will show no symptoms of their conditions.
If your child’s tongue-tie remains in place, he or she will be at higher risk of problems like colic and reflux. Lip-ties can affect how teeth come in, which could affect orthodontic care when your baby becomes a teenager.
Save Your Baby And Yourself From Long-Term Problems
If you are concerned about your baby’s ability to nurse, speak to your doctor about a referral to our office. We want to help your baby grow with as few problems as possible.
To learn more, call any of our offices or make an appointment online.