Tongue and Lip Ties

Tongue and Lip Ties

What is a Lip or Tongue Tie?

Also called Ankyloglossia or a Tethered Oral Tissue (TOT), a Tongue-tie is a condition in which the bottom of the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth by a membrane (frenulum) that restricts movement of the tongue. Similarly, an upper lip-tie is a frenulum attachment that restricts movement of the upper lip.

The condition is present at birth and can result in various oral developmental issues including feeding, speech and swallowing as well as interfering with adequate breastfeeding. Somewhere between 4-10% of all babies are born with a tongue tie. There are degrees of tongue and lip ties, depending on where the frenulum attaches to the tongue.

Why does it matter?

Tethered oral tissues limit the range of motion of the tongue and lip that can cause problems with feeding, swallowing, speech and the formation of the jaw and palate. Babies who are tongue-tied may have problems achieving a secure latch to the breast. They will often overcompensate with increased suction or using the jaws which causes nipple damage and pain. Once the baby can no longer maintain latch in this manner, there is often clicking and loss of suction or even complete detachment from breast. This may not only cause pain to mom, but also affect the baby’s ability to adequately drain the breast, leading to supply issues and/or infections. Some babies may not be able to latch at all.

Infant Symptoms:                                                                                              Mom’s Symptoms:

-    Poor or incomplete latch

-    Slides off nipple while attempting to latch

-    Clicking noises while nursing

-    Gumming or chewing on nipple

-    unable to hold pacifier

-    Poor weight gain

-    Colic or Reflux symptoms

-    Short sleep episodes/frequent feedings

-    Snoring, heavy breathing, or sleep apnea

-    Creased, flat or blanched nipples

-    Cracked, bruised or blistered nipples

-    Bleeding nipples

-    Severe pain when infant attempts to latch

-    Poor or incomplete breast drainage

-    Infected nipples of breasts

-    Plugged ducts or mastitis

-    Nipple thrush

-    Over-supply or diminishing supply

 

Left untreated, tongue and lip ties can cause development or speech problems and oral hygiene issues down the road, not to mention the loss of the breastfeeding relationship between moms and babies.

How is it treated?

Tongue and lip ties are easily corrected with a simple, safe and immediately effective procedure called a frenulectomy. Dr. Jordan is one of six preferred providers in the state of Ohio for revision of a tongue and lip tie via dental laser. The dental laser is the safest and least invasive of treatments available for the revision.

If you child is diagnosed with a tongue or lip tie, it is important to get the right kind of support. Depending on your child’s age and symptoms, your support group may include a Lactation Consultant, Craniosacral Therapist, Speech Therapist, Myofunctional Therapist, Chiropractor or Osteopathic Doctor.  With the right team of support and care, breastfeeding relationships can be saved.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

When you arrive for your appointment, you will be greeted by one of our friendly staff members and asked to complete some basic paperwork. You will be welcomed back into one of our exam rooms where Dr. Jordan will sit down with you and your child. She will first want to discuss any symptoms you and your child have experienced. She will then do an exam to confirm a tongue and/or lip tie. From there, recommendations will be made for treatment and/or additional therapies. She will then explain the procedure to you and will be able to answer any questions you may have.

The procedure itself lasts approximately 2 minutes. For infants, you will be encouraged to feed your baby as soon as treatment is complete. We have a private space available for moms to nurse and comfort their babies. Some moms have reported immediate relief of pain, extended nursing times and improved infant sleeping.

What happens after treatment?

Parents are given post-operative instructions including stretches of the treatment sites in order to reduce the risk of reattachment.  Stretches are to be done 3 times per day for 3 weeks for the best outcomes in infants. Dr. Lawrence Kotlow created a great tutorial that can be viewed below. Active wound management (stretching) is vital to prevent reattachments. 

Older children and adults will be instructed to practice myofunctional exercises after revision for two weeks to begin retraining the muscles of the tongue and face.

Additional Myofunctional Therapy and other support is often required for the best possible outcomes following the procedure. Depending on your child’s age and symptoms, your support group may include a Lactation Consultant, Craniosacral Therapist, Speech Therapist, Myofunctional Therapist, Chiropractor, or Osteopathic Doctor.

Why do we do this?

Dr. Jordan has been personally affected by tethered oral tissues by having not one, but two, children with tongue ties. Because of her history, she is incredibly passionate about helping other families.

Our office is committed to continuing to educate ourselves and our patients about this important topic while providing a safe and loving environment for all families affected by tongue and lip ties.Parents are given post-operative instructions including stretches of the treatment sites in order to reduce risk of reattachment.  Stretches are to be done 3 times per day for 3 weeks for the best outcomes. Active wound management (stretching) is vital to prevent reattachments. Additional support is often required for best possible outcomes following the procedure. Depending on your child’s age and symptoms, your support group may include a Lactation Consultant, Craniosacral Therapist, Speech Therapist, Myofunctional Therapist, Chiropractor or Osteopathic Doctor. 

Rebecca Jordan Family Dentistry

665 W Central Ave, Delaware, Delaware, OH 43015

Phone: (740) 369-4550

Email: [email protected]

MON - TUE : 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

WED : 8:00 am - 2:00 pm

THU : 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

FRI - SUN : Closed

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