Tongue Tie Information
There is a small band of tissue (a frenulum) that connects the middle part of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. The tongue is attached to 8 different muscles under the floor of the mouth. If the attachment is too far forward or too tight then the tongue cannot function properly. People often refer to this abnormality as being "tongue-tied." The technical name for tongue-tie is ankyloglossia.
What problems can it cause: Tongue-ties can cause problems with breastfeeding because the tongue is restricted in its natural movement of sucking and feeding. Often times it can create nipple pain, latch problems, and poor weight gain. Different problems may also occur later in life, such as speech problems and dental complications. Research shows that a “frenotomy/frenectomy” or clipping of the tongue-tie is a safe and effective treatment and usually helps improve breast feeding. In our office we perform this procedure with a CO2 laser which is safer, less painful, and more complete than clipping with a scissors or heating and destroying the tissue with a diode laser.
What are some considerations for releasing a baby’s frenulum: A frenectomy is a procedure done in a laser safe procedure room in our office. We apply a topical anesthetic then use a cold laser to anesthetize the area. This is painless and helps control pain and aid in healing. The procedure itself is very brief and the infant can go straight to the breast afterwards in our lactation room. Many mothers feel less nipple pain and a better latch almost immediately. After the procedure, some infants may feel pain for 1-3 days which is resolved with Tylenol. We can also repeat the cold laser treatments. Although it is a minor procedure, as with any surgical intervention, it does have some risks, including but not limited to, infection, bleeding, pain, allergic reactions, temporary numbness, injury to the mouth, scarring, or reattachment.