Tongue-Tie, Lip-Tie, Frenectomy

Bringing a newborn home can be a time of joy and excitement

One of the big challenges of having a new baby in the house is establishing a routine that fits everyone’s needs; a big part is breastfeeding. What should be a moment for a mother to sit down and bond with the baby can sometimes be fraught with anxiety.

Newborns can struggle with breastfeeding and latching on. A skilled lactation consultant can often help resolve these issues. A lactation consultant works with parents on positioning and the best way to encourage the little one to latch on correctly.

Sometimes though, there may be anatomical reasons why feeding is difficult, and if that’s the case, medical intervention is often required.

Causes of Breast Feeding Difficulties

When there is no restriction, normal tongue function allows a baby to latch and breastfeed without difficulty. It supports normal speech development, makes it possible for a child to self-clean their mouth while eating and makes fun little things possible like eating ice cream, kissing or sticking your tongue out to catch snowflakes.

Several conditions can cause difficulty with breastfeeding. These include:

  • Tongue-tie (or ankyloglossia): the strip of skin connecting a baby’s tongue to the bottom of their mouth is shorter than usual.
  • Lip-tie: the strip of skin connecting babys’ upper gum to their lip is shorter than usual. These strips of skin or tissue are called the frenum.

In some cases, there are significant problems with tongue-tie for breastfeeding, and the baby can’t latch on and feed easily. Sometimes, these issues can make breastfeeding difficult or painful and lead parents to seek breastfeeding solutions with a qualified professional. 

Long-Term Issues Associated With Infant Tongue-Tie and Lip-Tie

Without treatment, tongue-tie or lip-tie can lead to issues related to speech and long-term oral health. Issues can include:

  • Gum tissue development may be hindered
  • Problems with teeth alignment include a gap between the top middle teeth
  • Problems with speech and eating habits 
  • Jaw pain and protrusion, including clicking jaws
  • Difficulty kissing and licking lollipops or ice cream

If your child has tongue-tie or lip-tie, it’s important to speak with a qualified professional about what treatment options are the best course of action for your baby.

How Are Tongue-Tie and Lip-Tie Treated?

Treating tongue-tie or lip-tie can be done using a surgical procedure known as a frenectomy. The tissue causing restriction can be loosened or removed using a precision laser, allowing for a better range of motion. The laser does not emit heat or water and cauterizes as it works.

Some babies and children sleep through the procedure with minimal discomfort and no bleeding. The laser sterilizes upon touch, reducing the chance of infection and stimulating healing.

Benefits of a Frenectomy

A frenectomy is a quick and minimally invasive process, allowing babies to feed almost immediately after it is done and therefore provides a solution to breastfeeding difficulties. A frenectomy can provide several benefits in situations where a tongue-tie or lip-tie dentist advises it. These benefits include:

  • Helping mothers relieve the pain of breastfeeding
  • Helping to regain healthy nipples and breasts
  • Helping to stimulate milk production 
  • Encouraging bonding with their baby
  • Ensuring that baby receives adequate nutrition

Provide Your Baby With the Best Start with Niva Dental Specialists

Niva Dental Specialists is a doctor-owned multispecialty practice. If you need to discuss treatment options for your baby or you are looking for a tongue-tie dentist to perform a frenectomy in Austin, then Niva can advise you. We have the skill and knowledge to support you. Contact us to discuss treatment for tongue-tie and lip-tie today.

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