Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village CA
What is a tongue or lip-tie?
We are naturally born with connective tissue, known as frenulum, that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, and the lips and cheeks to the gums. When the frenum is too tight, it restricts movement of the tongue or lip. This is often referred to as tethered oral tissues or TOTS.
How do I know if my baby has a tongue or lip-tie?
Infants – TOTS may sometimes be difficult for a parent to identify, but watch out for these indicators. Common symptoms may include difficulty nursing, fussy during feedings, poor latch, or inability to latch. Breastfeeding mothers will usually experience sore or painful nursing sessions in which pain lingers even after feedings. Infants with TOTS may also experience failure to thrive. Even if you do not breastfeed your baby, he or she may not be able to feed from a bottle properly. If you are not sure, it is always best to have your child evaluated by the dentist to determine if he or she has TOTS.
Older children – When TOTS is ignored, it can implicate a child’s growth and development. TOTS can often interfere with a child’s speech development, ability to eat properly, and even lead to sleep breathing disorders. An upper lip-tie often causes a large gap between a child’s front teeth. These issues will follow a child into adulthood, which is why TOTS should be addressed as early as possible.
What is a tongue or lip-tie release?
The most effective treatment for TOTS is referred to as a tongue-tie (or lip-tie) release. The procedure is quick and simple in which the dentist applies a topical lidocaine to numb the frenulum. An appropriately sized clamp is used to seal off the blood vessels, which minimizes bleeding. Then, the dentist will use either a scalpel or laser to release the restriction. The procedure takes only minutes!
Following the procedure
Depending on the age of your child, he or she may need either over-the-counter pain relievers and numbing agents or nothing at all. If you nurse your baby, he or she can resume nursing immediately following the procedure. The dentist may prescribe at-home stretching exercises in which you gently maneuver your child’s tongue to facilitate healing. A post-op appointment will allow the dentist to ensure your baby is healing properly.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Integrative Dental Arts today at (818) 889-0400. Dr. Carson and Dr. Markiewicz look forward to helping your child begin a lifelong journey of optimal oral health. We welcome patients of Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, California.