Tongue-Tie Questions

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Happy Tuesday everyone! 

Today we are going to talk about a condition I have been getting many referrals for...…and that is Lip- tie and Tongue-tie conditions.  

What exactly is a Lip-tie or a Tongue-tie?

It is condition where the band of tissue below your top lip and under the tongue, is too short or tight.  This "string" holds the upper lip down over the front teeth, and holds the tongue down to the floor of the mouth - both of which are not normal positions. 

Why does this matter? 

This condition in infants can cause difficulty nursing - causing babies to have slow weight gain, reflux/gassiness, also causing mom physical pain during nursing, and overall frustration.  In the first few days of life, weight gain is extremely important!  When moms get frustrated at nursing, that's when we give up on it, and turn to formula in a bottle. 

This condition in elementary -aged children can lead to:   

  •  frustration with communication   
  • speech delay   
  • picky eater/ slow eater   
  • packing food in cheeks and higher risk of cavities   
  • poor sleep quality   
  • hyperactivity or inattention at school (misdiagnosed as ADHD)

What is the treatment? 

If your child has a severe lip and/or tongue-tie condition, along with symptoms, we offer a Lip-tie Release or Tongue-Tie Release (frenectomy) procedure in our office. 

A Frenectomy is the removal of that string of tissue,  which allows the Lip and the Tongue to have improved mobility and function.   There are many ways to perform this procedure: scissors, diode laser, and CO2 laser.

At Windhaven Pediatric Dentistry, we use the CO2 laser (brand: Light Scalpel). This is the latest technology that allows for minimal bleeding and minimal discomfort.  No sutures are needed with the use of this laser. 

Will my child need to be sedated/asleep for this procedure?

It depends.  

For infants, no, we do not sedate.  The CO2 laser causes minimal bleeding and pain, so we only use a gentle swaddle for the procedure.  

For older children, we offer Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide) as a mild sedation, to help them through the procedure.  The area under the lip or the tongue, will be numb with local anesthesia, so that the laser itself will not cause pain.   If your child is a bit more anxious, we also offer a stronger sedative, Sleep Juice (Oral Conscious Sedation). 

How long does the procedure take?

The procedure with the CO2 LightScalpel laser itself, takes only 5 minutes.  

What is the recovery time?

Mild-moderate soreness will be worst between day 1 to day 3.   After that, the tissue continues to heal over  3 weeks.  Dr. Karrie and the WPD Team will demonstrate how to do at-home stretches for the lip and/or the tongue, to help make the results of the frenectomy procedure successful!

If you have questions or would like Dr. Karrie to check your child for lip and/or tongue-tie condition, call us at 469-277-1787!  We are proud to serve the families of Prosper, Aubrey, Little Elm, Pilot Point, CrossRoads, and its surrounding communities.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.