Viera Pediatric Dentistry

5600 Porada Dr, Suite 102 Viera, FL 32940
Se Habla Español
Viera Pediatric Dentistry logo

Tongue and Lip Ties / Tethered Oral Tissues

What Are Tongue and Lip-Ties?

Some children are born with extra tissue called frenum under their tongue or upper lip. These Tethered oral tissues (TOTs) can have a major impact on breastfeeding and a child’s overall quality of life. When they impede breastfeeding it can create a lot of pain and discomfort for a mom or difficulty transferring milk for the baby leading to inadequate weight gain or colicky behavior. In older children it can result in speech disturbances, difficulty chewing/swallowing, constipation, amongst other concerns.

Dr. Patel offers a thorough evaluation to assess whether your child has restrictions that may contribute to their difficulties. If the frenectomy procedure is indicated it will often be offered the same day for infants if a parents desires utilizing our non-touch LightScalpel CO2 laser. The procedure takes less than 20 seconds with minimal to no bleeding, minor discomfort, and quick healing. A lactation consultant (IBCLC) is welcome to join you at these visits and if you do not have one you are currently working with we would be happy to provide you a list of excellent local providers who can assist you at home and/or at the office on the day of your consultation.

Need To Schedule An Appointment With Us?

We get it – You may not remember what day it is, or if it’s morning or night! Feel free to complete the brief form below, and our team will get back to you ASAP via your preferred method of contact.

Why Should I Consider a Frenectomy?

According to the National Institutes of Health, between four and ten percent of infants are born with a tongue-tie. We’re learning now more than ever why breastfeeding is so crucial to a child’s development. If your baby has difficulty latching on to the breast, they may be experiencing a tongue- or lip-tie.

However, there’s no reason for the bonding between a mother and her child to be disrupted. Frenectomies can improve latch, allowing babies (and mothers) to have a better nursing experience.

Infants with tongue-ties may:

  • Have difficulty nursing or taking a bottle
  • Drip milk out of their mouth when eating
  • Have trouble gaining weight
  • Click their tongue or smack their lips when eating
  • Have reflux or symptoms of colic
  • Be continually fussy, often due to gas

Older children with tongue-ties may:

  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Experience a strong gag reflex
  • Have delayed speech
  • Speak softer than average or have difficulty being understood
  • Choke when eating or drinking
  • Be a picky eater or eat their food slowly
  • Sleep with their mouth open, snore or grind their teeth

How We Perform Frenectomies

A frenectomy is the release of the frenum to allow for added range of motion. This quick and straightforward procedure is the first step toward a healthier child.

In the past, most frenectomies were performed by a doctor using a scalpel under general anesthesia and left children with stitches. Infants were often denied this procedure due to the risks of babies undergoing anesthesia.

However, modern LightScalpel CO2 laser technology allows us to perform frenectomies in our office with no anesthesia. These treatments take just a few minutes, don’t require stitches, and leave patients with little to no bleeding or swelling.

baby smiling

After The Procedure:

1. Post-Treatment Support

Post-treatment visits with a lactation consultant (IBCLC) are recommended within 24-48 hrs of your baby’s surgery to ensure baby and mom have the support, help and education they need. Most hospitals have an IBCLC on staff otherwise we have a list of local providers who are able to do home visits if that suits your lifestyle better.

2. Stretches / Exercises

Post-surgery stretches are crucial to good wound healing and maximizing the mobility of the oral tissues. Dr. Patel recommends stretching 3-4 times a day for 3 weeks at diaper changes to prevent poor wound healing thus leading to a less than ideal outcome.

3. Follow Up

Dr. Patel stays in touch with parents via text and is happy to do post-operative visits at no charge if there are questions regarding healing, etc.

Girl smiling
Viera icon

4. Discomfort and Pain Relief

Many parents are concerned about discomfort during and after the procedure. The procedure is very quick and the tool we use (LightScalpel CO2 laser) ensures precise, minimal wavelength/heat production leading to great post-operative outcomes. Baby safe numbing agents and other precautions are taken by our team to ensure the least amount of discomfort possible. Dr. Patel will review more information at the consultation visit so please be sure to write down any questions you may have in preparation!

5. Results can take a little time.

It’s important to understand that, when your child has tethered oral tissues released, improvement isn’t always instantaneous. It’s typically just the first step in treatment. The tongue is one of the strongest muscles in the body and once released, the body has to adapt to strengthen it and reduce the compensations made by other muscles to help with feeding. After the procedure is completed, your child’s brain and muscles will need some time to relearn the skill of breastfeeding and will fatigue since the tongue has not been used in that way before. While many mothers notice an immediate improvement in their infants’ ability to nurse, it is also completely normal for this to take time, as well. There may even be a little regression in sucking for a day or two as your child learns how to use an unrestricted tongue.

Lactation Consultant Follow Up Care

Post-treatment visits with a lactation consultant are recommended within 48 hrs of your baby’s surgery to ensure baby and mom are re-learning how to latch appropriately. Positioning issues and weight checks before and after a feed are just a few services an IBCLC can provide along with emotional support to help sustain that important relationship between mother and baby.

Follow Up

Dr. Patel stays in touch with parents via text and is happy to do post-operative visits at no charge if there are questions regarding healing, etc.

Happy girl smiling outside
young girl practicing brushing a tooth

Stretches / Exercise

Post-surgery stretches are crucial to good wound healing and maximizing the mobility of the oral tissues. Dr. Patel recommends stretching 3-4 times a day for 3 weeks at diaper changes to prevent poor wound healing thus leading to a less than ideal outcome.

Discomfort & Pain Relief

Many parents are concerned about discomfort during and after the procedure. The procedure is very quick and the tool we use (LightScalpel CO2 laser) ensures a precise, minimal wavelength/heat production leading to great post-operative outcomes. Baby safe numbing agents and other precautions are taken by our team to ensure the least amount of discomfort possible. Dr. Patel will review more information at the consultation visit so please be sure to write down any questions you may have in preparation!

What Moms Are Saying