Is your baby having trouble feeding, talking, or breastfeeding/bottle feeding? They may be tongue-tied. A small percentage of children are affected by Ankyloglossia, otherwise known as being “tongue-tied”.
Luckily, it is a fairly easy condition to treat. If you’re looking for a local Woodbridge dental clinic that is certified to treat tongue-tie, look no further than Woodbridge Kids Dentistry. Our office is one of the only Pediatric dental clinics in the GTA that offers soft tissue laser treatment to treat Ankyloglossia. Learn more about tongue-tie, the treatment, and the results of soft tissue laser treatment in our blog.
What is Tongue-tie?
Tongue-tie is a birth defect that affects a small percentage of infants. The tongue is normally attached to the base of the mouth by a small piece of skin (the lingual frenulum); with tongue-tied children, the skin is short, tight, and restricts the tongue’s ability to move. This prevents babies from feeding properly. It will also affect the mouth’s development if not treated.
Some symptoms associated with tongue-tie include:
- Impaired tongue mobility
- Trouble breastfeeding
- Gaps between front lower teeth
- Tongue cannot reach the roof of the mouth
- Difficulty moving the tongue from side to side
- Difficulty licking lips
- Trouble sticking out tongue past the lower front teeth
- Low weight
- Swallowing problems
The treatment for tongue-tie is a simple and nearly painless procedure. The tight piece of skin restricting the tongue is cut, usually by a laser. Woodbridge Kids uses a soft tissue laser, and the procedure takes about 5 minutes. This frees the tongue from the bottom of the mouth, allowing babies to properly feed, though sometimes improvement takes a couple a weeks to be seen. Your baby will be able to breastfeed or bottle feed shortly after the treatment. 24 hours after the procedure, they will be able to have solid foods.
Pain and Appearance
The areas where the ties were cut may appear yellow or white for a couple of days after the treatment. This is not a sign of an infection; the full healing process can take a couple of weeks. Some swelling is also a normal symptom after the treatment, and will go down after a couple of days. Your baby should not feel any pain after the tongue-tied treatment, though some minor discomfort is common; this should only last 24-48 hours after the treatment. If they are fussy or are refusing to feed during this time, giving them Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is an option, though you should consult with your pediatrician or pharmacist for the correct dosage.
Some infants might bleed a little bit around the tongue, though this is less likely if a laser was used. If your baby is experiencing bleeding, simply apply pressure on the area and it should stop. If there is excessive bleeding, or it continues after 24 hours, you should contact your doctor.