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Tongue Ties & Tongue Tie Release
Tongue Ties & Tongue Tie ReleaseMarwan Nasr2019-03-07T15:57:14-04:00
Tongue tie can impede your infant’s ability to latch on for breastfeeding and to suck and swallow milk.
Tongue tie release (also called lingual frenotomy or lingual frenectomy) can improve breastfeeding comfort and efficiency for both mother and baby. Dividing a tongue tie is a quick and simple procedure done in a few minutes in our clinic, and babies nurse immediately afterwards.
The tongue tie release procedure is not necessary where the infant has no problematic symptoms, and of course a tongue tie release is not the solution to all breastfeeding challenges.
Please call us with your questions or to schedule a visit.
Experienced Brisbane Doctor for Tongue-Tie Release
Dr David Hunt MBBS, FRACGP, M. Div. is a well known and respected Brisbane physician with a personal mission statement to achieve professional excellence in leadership and healthcare delivery with the utmost in compassion and integrity.
Dr Hunt studied medicine at The University of Queensland and graduated in 1986. He completed residencies at the Royal Brisbane & QEII Hospitals.
He performs tongue-tie release procedures as part of his primary medical practice at Gentle Procedures Clinic.
In addition to lingual and labial frenectomy procedures (tongue and lip tie release) Doctor Hunt also performs virtually painless Pollock Technique™ circumcision as well as no-scalpel vasectomy for men.
The Gentle Procedures team is focused on compassionate care and quality service – and we provide rapid access to care – with or without a referral.
Many of our patients are referred to us by a lactation consultant or physician, but a referral is not necessary. You can call us directly with your questions, or to schedule an appointment at any of our clinic locations.
The first part of your appointment consists of an examination of your child.
If diagnosed, the frenulum will be revised and treated in the same visit.
Immediately following the procedure, breastfeeding is recommended, and then you will be ready to go home once we review post-treatment care with you.
What is a Tongue Tie?
Tongue tie (ankyloglossia in medical terminology) is caused by a tight or short lingual frenulum (the membrane that anchors the tongue to the floor of the mouth). The frenulum normally thins and recedes before birth. Where this doesn’t happen, the frenulum may restrict tongue mobility.
Tongue tie often runs in families and is thought to be more common in boys than girls. There is an association between high or unusual palates and tongue tie, because restricted tongue movement can affect the shape of the palate.
What’s the Impact of a Tongue Tie?
Ankyloglossia can affect feeding, speech, swallowing, and oral hygiene as well as have mechanical/social effects. Ankyloglossia can also prevent the tongue from contacting the anterior palate. This can then promote an infantile swallow and hamper the progression to an adult-like swallow which can result in an open bite deformity.
The most common concern is that tongue tie can interfere with breast feeding in infants.
What Causes Infant Tongue Tie?
In normal infant development, the lingual frenulum separates before birth, allowing the tongue free range of motion. In the case of a tongue-ties newborn, the lingual frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue. Why this happens is largely unknown, although some cases of tongue-tie have been associated with certain genetic factors.
Although tongue-tie can affect anyone, it’s more common in boys than girls. Tongue-tie sometimes runs in families.
Signs and Symptoms of Tongue Tie in Babies
Some babies with tongue-tie have a mild case and show few symptoms or issues. On the other hand, if the condition is severe, the tongue is almost completely attached to the floor of the mouth and can be more easily identified.
Doctors do not always agree on how to identify tongue-tie, especially if it is mild. Because of this, it is difficult to say how common it is. Some studies have shown that about four per cent of babies have tongue-tie. Others found it to be much more common, affecting about 11 per cent.
Symptoms of tongue tie:
Inability to fully extend the tongue
Slow weight gain
Breastfeeding difficulties or unable to breastfeed
Treatment – Lingual Frenotomy for Infant Tongue Tie
A lingual frenotomy is simply the release of a restrictive frenulum under the tongue. This simple surgical procedure can be done without anesthesia in our clinic, in just a few minutes.
The doctor examines the lingual frenulum and then uses sterile scissors to snip the frenulum free. The procedure is quick, and discomfort is minimal since there are few nerve endings or blood vessels in the lingual frenulum.
If any bleeding occurs, it’s likely to be only a drop or two of blood. After the procedure, a baby can breast-feed immediately.
Complications of a frenotomy are rare but could include bleeding or infection, or damage to the tongue or salivary glands. It’s also possible to have scarring or for the frenulum to reattach to the base of the tongue.
The Tongue Tie Removal Procedure
Our tongue tie removal procedure is simply dividing the frenulum with surgical scissors. Our doctor will identify the optimal place to make the cut with the objective of permitting increased tongue movement with the minimum required intervention.
Do not feed your baby for two hours before your appointment
Baby is wrapped in a blanket to keep then still and comfortable
The lingual frenulum is carefully located and divided with a single snip
Mother then feeds the baby
You can go home pretty well straight away
Our doctor is available by phone for any questions or concerns that may arise
After Care & Healing
After your procedure, you will leave well informed of the aftercare instructions. These instructions are meant to manage the possibility of re-attachment, maximize success and improve the overall quality of the breastfeeding experience.
Most babies experience only minimal discomfort after the procedure, and breastfeeding provides natural pain relief and has antibiotic properties. We do not necessarily suggest the use of pain medication for babies under three months old. If your baby seems uncomfortable, acetaminophen can be given to help with any discomfort.
Please ask us if you are unsure about what dose of medication to give and remember that medication dosages should always be based on your baby’s weight.
Blood in the Nappy
You may notice some dark streaks in your baby’s nappy in the day after the procedure.
This is from the small amount of blood that your baby may have swallowed and is no cause for concern.
If dark streaks persist for more than 24 hours after the procedure, or if you are concerned, please contact us.
Breastfeeding is the most effective exercise for encouraging effective sucking. For breastfeeding babies under the age of 3 months, sucking issues related to tongue-tie often resolve spontaneously after the tongue-tie is released, with no other intervention needed.
If breastfeeding has not improved by about day 5 after the procedure, there are other exercises that can be done to help encourage your baby to use his/her tongue effectively. These exercises should be tailored to your baby’s specific needs with the help of a lactation consultant.
Tongue Tie FAQ
How common are tongue ties? Tongue-tie affects around 4-11% of newborns. It is more common in boys than in girls, and sometimes runs in families. The precise rate of incidence of ankyloglossia is not clear as it is possible that some more recent higher rates of diagnosis are due in part to increases in breastfeeding.
If your baby has a tongue tie does that mean he/she also has a lip tie? The two conditions can be found in the same infant, and our doctor will check for both at your appointment. Symptoms are very similar for both infant lip ties and tongue ties – and the treatment is also generally the same. When required, we can address both lip and tongue ties in the same appointment.
Does a tongue tie affect breastfeeding? Not all tongue ties affect breastfeeding, and we do not recommend treating tongue ties that have no problematic symptoms. The common case is that tongue tie is diagnosed only after symptoms (like breastfeeding difficulties) are observed and become a problem for baby and mother.
Can a tongue tie cause tooth decay? For an older child or adult, tongue-tie can make it difficult to sweep food debris from the teeth. This can contribute to tooth decay and inflammation of the gums (gingivitis).
Can a tongue tie cause a gap in teeth? Tongue-tie can lead to the formation of a gap or space between the two bottom front teeth.
My baby seems to have a tongue tie but breastfeeds fine. Is intervention needed? Our recommendation is to treat a tongue tie only if it causes problems, so if your infant is feeding well there should be no need for concern at this time.
Does lingual frenectomy hurt? The tongue-tie division procedure is associated with mild discomfort. It takes just a few minutes and your child will start feeling better quickly. Breastfeeding after the procedure is recommended.