Just Keiki Pediatric Dentistry

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Tongue and Lip Ties

What Are Tongue- and Lip-Ties?

Some children are born with extra tissue or frenum under their tongue or upper lip. These are called tongue-ties and lip-ties and can cause difficulty with breastfeeding and in some cases may contribute to other health problems, like dental decay, speech issues, feeding challenges, atypical development of teeth and jaw, airway and breathing issues, or sleep quality. Frenums are a normal part of oral anatomy, but if they are causing functional issues for your child, they may benefit from a frenectomy or removal of the extra tissue.

Why Should My Infant Undergo a Frenectomy?

Infants with tongue and lip-ties may:

  • Have difficulty nursing or taking a bottle
  • Have trouble gaining weight
  • Have reflux or symptoms of colic
  • Noticing a heart-shaped tongue tip or a tight upper lip attachment

Older children with tongue and lip-ties may:

  • Have delayed speech
  • Speak softer than average or have difficulty being understood
  • Choke when eating or drinking
  • Be a picky eater or eat their food slowly
  • Sleep with their mouth open, snore or grind their teeth

According to the National Institutes of Health, between four and ten percent of infants are born with a tongue-tie. We’re learning now more than ever why breastfeeding is so crucial to a child’s development. If your baby has difficulty latching on to the breast, they may be experiencing a tongue- or lip-tie. 

However, there’s no reason for the bonding between a mother and her child to be disrupted. Frenectomies can improve latch, allowing babies (and mothers) to have a better nursing experience. 

How Is A Frenectomy Procedure Performed?

Here at Just Keiki Pediatric Dentistry, we use a LightScalpel CO2 laser which is known to be one of the best lasers for frenectomy procedures. The procedure is quick, with little to no bleeding, minimal discomfort, and excellent healing. 

The recovery is relatively quick. For infants, you can resume breastfeeding immediately after the procedure. Our team will guide you on the wound care and stretches needed for proper healing. 

For the best results it is suggested to work with a lactation consultant, myofunctional therapist, and/or speech therapist before and after treatment.