What Is Tongue-Tie, and How Can It Be Corrected?

Posted by On 23-02-2022

Sometimes children are born tongue-tied, a condition called ankyloglossia. If the case is mild, meaning it doesn’t impact eating or speaking, it may be fine to leave untreated. Many children with ankyloglossia grow up without any problems related to the condition. However, in cases where the condition prevents eating or speaking, tongue-tie surgery is needed.

At Milltown Dental, we offer tongue-tie laser frenectomy to treat ankyloglossia. Here, we’ll talk a bit about what it is to be tongue-tied, how it can impact your child’s life, and how laser frenectomy tongue-tie surgery helps.

What does it mean to be tongue-tied?

The term “tongue-tied” may conjure images of a tongue-tied in a knot. That is not ankyloglossia. Instead, the condition occurs when the tissue attaching your tongue to the floor of your mouth is thicker or shorter than normal. That limits the tongue's range of motion, meaning children may not be able to form words properly, suck from a bottle, or stick out their tongue.

You may notice your child’s condition due to symptoms like:

  • The tongue appears heart-shaped when poking out
  • Inability to stick tongue out
  • Difficulty moving tongue to speak
  • Difficulty latching on during breastfeeding

Your doctor will likely catch the tongue-tied condition before you even leave the hospital. If it’s missed and you notice any of the above symptoms, speak to your doctor. As we mentioned, for many being tongue-tied isn’t a big problem, but if it impacts your child’s eating, it could cause health issues.

Why is my child tongue-tied?

Ankyloglossia is generally a genetic condition. This means you or your partner carries a gene that has the potential to cause your children to be born tongue-tied. Perhaps, you or your partner were even born tongue-tied.

Anybody can be born tongue-tied, but it is typically more common in boys than girls.

What is tongue-tie surgery?

At Milltown Dental, we use a tongue-tie surgery procedure called laser frenectomy. Laser frenectomy uses a laser to separate the tongue from the frenulum (the tissue holding the tongue to the floor of the mouth). It is an extremely safe and accurate surgery, cutting nothing but the tissue needed to release the tongue for a natural range of motion.

Laser frenectomy tongue-tie surgery is the surgery of choice among doctors and dentists to encourage quick healing with no need for recovery time and no risk of infection.

How old does my child need to be to receive tongue-tie surgery?

Unless the surgery is an emergency, as is the case if your child can’t eat properly, most doctors will wait until the baby is six months old to perform laser frenectomy tongue-tie surgery so that general anesthesia may be used. Fortunately, laser frenectomy surgery is safer and more comfortable than traditional surgery by scalpel.

Can I be present for tongue-tie surgery?

Of course. Many parents hold their babies during tongue-tie surgery to keep the baby calm. Some babies sleep through a laser frenectomy, resting peacefully in Mom or Dad’s arms.

Will there be bleeding and stitches?

No. Laser frenectomy tongue-tie surgery is far less invasive than cutting surgery. The laser cauterizes the tissue as it completes the surgery. This means no sutures, no bleeding (although in rare cases, there may be a little bleeding), no needles, and no risk of infection.

Healing from laser frenectomy is quick. Much quicker than traditional surgery, as the laser seals everything, including nerve endings, following treatment. That also means there is very little, if any, pain following treatment.

How soon after laser frenectomy tongue-tie surgery can I nurse?

Immediately! Your baby can breastfeed right away, and you’ll notice a big difference. Where the tongue-tie was likely keeping your child from latching properly before, they will be able to eat more comfortably and naturally than before. As a mother, you’ll notice a big difference in your comfort level.

Latching is an important part of breastfeeding comfort. A tongue-tied baby may never be able to properly latch without medical assistance if the tie is severe. Don’t struggle alone. Your doctor and dentist can offer safe solutions for your baby.

Is laser frenectomy right for my child?

Before you decide on laser frenectomy, you should talk to your doctor about your child’s condition and have them properly diagnosed. Your doctor may recommend leaving your child’s frenulum intact. However, if they recommend surgery, you can ask about the different types of surgery available.

Laser frenectomy is Canada's safest, quickest, and most comfortable form of a frenectomy. There are many benefits aside from the comfort and fast healing of your child, including:

  • Better and more comfortable breastfeeding
  • Pain-free breastfeeding (Many mothers find breastfeeding uncomfortable or painful if their child is tongue-tied because the baby has trouble latching properly)
  • Better sleep for both mother and child
  • Normal development of speech
  • Better oral health for your child

At Milltown Dental, we serve families across Milton, Ontario. We work closely with our patients and develop customized treatment plans for various oral problems, including tongue-tied children. Before choosing a laser frenectomy, we will discuss the procedure and explain what to expect before, during, and after. It’s important that all our patients feel safe and comfortable during treatment, especially our smallest patients.

Contact Milltown Dental Today

Looking to learn more about tongue-tie surgery and what it entails?

If you live in Milton and feel your child is a good candidate for laser frenectomy tongue-tie surgery, we can help. Our experienced dentists are always happy to answer any questions you might have and help you better understand the laser frenectomy procedure and how it can help.

To make an appointment or get in touch, we invite you to call Milltown Dental at 1-833-318-3281 today. You can also contact us online using our easy contact form.

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