While every new mother wants to breastfeed their newborn, it doesn't always come easily or naturally to you or your infant. One of the reasons that infants struggle to breastfeed is due to a small, extra piece of tissue below their tongue. This is known as a condition called tongue-tie and can make breastfeeding difficult. Luckily, our Spruce Grove Dentist can help. Read on to learn what to do when you suspect that your child has a tongue-tie.
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What is Tongue-Tie?
When a child is born with a tongue-tie, they will have a frenulum that is too short or thick and restricts their tongue's ability to move. The frenulum is the small piece of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
How is Tongue-Tie Diagnosed?
A dentist in Spruce Grove, your primary doctor, or your child's pediatrician can diagnose tongue-tie. Often, a lactation consultant is the first to notice signs of tongue-tie when a mother visits them for breastfeeding issues.
Some common symptoms of tongue-tie include nipple pain and sensitivity for the mother and trouble staying latched for the child. When these signs are noticed, the mother and baby will often be referred to a specialist for tongue-tie treatment in Spruce Grove.
How is Tongue-Tie Treated?
The way that tongue-tie is treated depends on the severity of each patient's case. Some doctors will choose a wait-and-see approach for those with very mild tongue-tie. In other cases, your medical professional may recommend a frenectomy, which is a minimally-invasive procedure performed to loosen the frenulum. Most of the time, a laser will be used to cut the frenulum, resulting in a less painful treatment with minimal bleeding.
Most of the time, frenectomies take just a couple of minutes to perform and come with mild bleeding as a side-effect. However, while the procedure itself is simple, it does require some commitment to aftercare. Parents will need to work with their infant to physically stretch the tongue and tissue that has been cut to prevent it from tightening once more during the healing process. These stretches will need to be performed consistently for up to a month following the procedure.
The majority of mothers find an immediate improvement in nipple pain and feeding sessions as soon as their infant has had a frenectomy done.
Potential Side Effects of a Frenectomy
Most of the time, healing from a frenectomy is simple, but in some cases, your child may have a longer or more complicated healing process. Some complications that can result from tongue-tie procedures include:
- Weight loss
- Challenges feeding
- Damaged tongue muscles
If you notice any of these problems, schedule an appointment with your tongue-tie treatment professional right away.
What Happens if Tongue-Tie Goes Untreated?
It is already understood that tongue-tie can lead to issues gaining weight and failure to thrive in babies. However, the potential problems that are associated with tongue-tie don't end when your infant stops breastfeeding.
As your child gets older, tongue-tie may have them visiting a dentist near you sooner rather than later due to issues with their bite alignment. Additionally, they may struggle to articulate clearly and may have issues pronouncing certain words correctly.
Some parents decide not to treat tongue-tie because they have been told the frenulum may stretch over time. While this can be true, it often isn't the case. The best thing to do for your child is to get them a frenectomy from a young age.
The Bottom Line
Tongue-tie is a common and minor condition that some newborns deal with. In some cases, tongue-tie causes no problems at all, while in other cases, it can lead to pain and frustration for mother and baby. Additionally, tongue-tie can lead to challenges with speaking or bite alignment latest in life.
Tongue-tie treatment is simple and works well to help infants and mothers alleviate painful symptoms. The best way to determine if your child requires tongue-tie treatment is to visit a medical professional for a comprehensive evaluation. They will be able to determine if your infant needs a frenectomy or if their case is mild enough to monitor.
Visit Blossom Family Dental
Our dedicated team of dental professionals at Blossom Family Dental is happy to help you with all your oral health concerns. If you are interested in learning more about how to care for your infant's oral and overall health, please do not hesitate to reach out to our dedicated team of dental professionals. Please get in touch with us to book your appointment today.