Tongue and Lip Tie

Tongue-tie is a birth defect that occurs when the strip of skin (lingual frenum) connecting a baby’s tongue to the floor of their mouth is shorter than usual. Typically, this strip of skin separates before birth, allowing the tongue free range of motion. With tongue-tie, the lingual frenum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue.

Tongue-tie is a very common condition that, if addressed quickly, will not hinder a child’s development. However, if left untreated, tongue-tie can result in malnourishment, speech difficulty, or poor oral hygiene.

Signs of tongue-tie include:

  • Restriction of the tongue’s movement, making it harder to breastfeed
  • Difficulty lifting the tongue up or moving it from side to side
  • Difficulty sticking the tongue out
  • The tongue looks notched or heart-shaped when stuck out
  • Trouble articulating certain letter sounds including “R”, “L”, “S”, “N”

  • Feeding issues including:

  • Increased gagging
  • Avoidance of certain texture
  • Very slow eating         

Treatment of Tongue-Tie

The treatment of tongue-tie for infants and children is a simple surgical procedure called a frenectomy. We are now offering laser frenectomies for tongue ties and lip ties using the Light Scalpel laser.

Since there are few nerve endings or blood vessels in the labial/lingual frenum, only a local anesthetic is used for the frenectomy procedure. Advantages of a laser frenectomy include: minimal bleeding, minimal post operative swelling and discomfort, decreased risk of infection post operative, shortened procedure time (less than 10 minutes), and faster recovery (less than 5 days).

Patients also do not require stitches post operatively. Depending on the age of the patient, speech/myofunctional therapy may be necessary following the frenectomy procedure. Many of our patients have experienced improvements in feeding, speech and sleep within 1 week of the procedure.

Before & After

before after

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