Breastfeeding woes – why help may be found at the Dentist

Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills, CA

Being a new mom, or the mom of a subsequent baby can be exciting, and stressful, especially if you experience difficulty breastfeeding your newborn. Even if you had breastfed your previous children when they were babies, each baby is different and may not learn to latch as well as your other child. Your expert dentists in Agoura Hills are here to share with you what may be causing your breastfeeding woes, and how Integrative Dental Arts can help.

What’s causing my baby not to latch?

Successful breastfeeding relies on a successful latch. If your baby is not able to latch onto your breast properly, he or she may not end up getting enough milk, which leads to a host of problems. Moms experiencing this issue become exhausted as their baby continues crying and seems inconsolable. Your baby’s pediatrician is likely to become concerned if your baby is failing to thrive or gaining enough weight fast enough. While this may seem commonplace in our country today, it shouldn’t be. A tongue-tie could be to blame for your baby’s inability to latch.

What is a tongue-tie?

Every one of us develops what is called a frenum that attaches to the underside of the tongue, and then down to the floor of the mouth. However, some people naturally develop what is called a tongue-tie, which results when the frenum is too short or thick, causing the tongue to experience restrictive movement. There are different classes or severities of a tongue-tie, but regardless of how mild the case may be, it could pose serious issues both now, and as your baby develops.

What problems does a tongue-tie cause?

It inevitably causes a nursing baby to become fussy at the breast, not seem full, frequently wake at night for feedings, and fail to gain weight. The breastfeeding mother becomes tired due to the frequent feedings and may experience sore nipples, a breast infection, or a reduction in milk supply.

There are many other concerns that may develop later in life if a tongue-tie is not treated. For instance, a child may experience difficulty eating or chewing foods properly, develop speech issues, have crooked or gapped teeth, and develop a narrow airway that can lead to sleep apnea later in life. Therefore, it is essential to have your baby’s tongue-tie treated as soon as possible to avoid these lifelong implications to their health and development.

How is a tongue-tie treated?

Treating a tongue-tie is one of the easiest, and least invasive medical procedures available. At Integrative Dental Arts, we can perform a frenectomy using laser dentistry in Westlake Village to gently, yet precisely release the restriction. The laser itself cauterizes as it goes, which minimizes bleeding both during and after the procedure. The dentist can release the frenum tissue within a matter of seconds!

Afterward, we will provide you with follow-up care, as well as gentle stretches that you can do using your finger and gently moving your baby’s tongue to prevent the tissue from reattaching. Most babies, following a frenectomy, breastfeed immediately afterward, although you may need to work with your baby and train him or her how to latch properly. In some cases, seeing a lactation consultant can help iron out any lingering bad habits your baby may have formed as a result of their tongue-tie.

Breastfeeding Help in Agoura Hills

If you are exhausted from dealing with difficulty breastfeeding your baby, it is time to consider an evaluation by the dentist. A quick look inside your baby’s mouth will determine if a tongue-tie exists, and we can be on our way to providing your baby treatment. To learn more, please call Integrative Dental Arts at (818) 889-0400 to schedule a consultation.

Integrative Dental Arts welcomes patients of Agoura Hills and Westlake Village.