Tongue-ties or ankyloglossia is something that you are born with. It’s not a condition that develops over time. You may have heard “tongue-tied” in relation to someone that does not speak clearly or gets their words mixed up when talking. But being tongue-tied is an actual condition in which the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth, restricting movement. Tongue-ties respond well to treatment and can help you avoid life-long issues like speech impediments, mouth breathing, narrow palate development, and other health concerns that can be difficult, although not impossible, to correct.
Who gets tongue-ties?
Anyone can have a tongue-tie, although you may be unaware of your condition. Tongue ties are often discovered in babies shortly after birth or during their early developmental phases.
What are the symptoms of tongue-ties in babies?
It can be challenging for parents to assess their baby’s mouth for a tongue tie, although there are symptoms that may indicate tethered oral tissue.
Babies that are tongue-tied may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Difficulty latching
- Baby is fussy when feeding
- Baby makes clicking noises when feeding
- Failure to thrive or does not gain weight
- Baby seems hungry or feeds frequently
- Tongue does not reach the roof of their mouth
- Can’t stick tongue out beyond their gums
- They have a V or heart shape at the tip of their tongue when sticking it out
- Baby chews more than sucks
Breastfeeding mothers may also experience side effects from their baby’s tongue-tie due to frequent feedings and the baby’s inability to latch properly. If your baby has a tongue-tie, you may experience tender or painful breasts, cracked or snore nipples, or mastitis, a breast infection caused by milk not being emptied from the breast in a single nursing session.
What’s the problem with an untreated tongue tie?
Tongue ties restrict the tongue’s movement, which may prevent it from resting against the roof of the mouth, resulting in poor oral posture. Poor oral rest posture can lead to a narrow upper dental arch that causes crowded teeth and a higher risk of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea later in life. Untreated tongue ties may cause children to develop speech impediments and open mouth posture or mouth breathing, which could hinder their self-confidence. Additionally, mouth breathing is not healthy. It results in lower blood oxygenation, which is harmful to the body, growth, and development.
What treatments are available for tongue ties?
It’s essential to treat tongue-ties as soon as possible or when first discovered. A simple and nearly painless treatment is available for tongue ties in Lake Forest. At Lake Forest Smiles, we use the Light Scalpel CO2 laser to release tongue ties using a procedure called a frenectomy. A frenectomy releases the tongue’s restriction, allowing the tongue to move and function properly when speaking, breathing, swallowing, and at rest. Additionally, when infants receive frenectomies for tongue ties, they latch almost immediately and are able to feed properly.
The Light Scalpel Laser is more precise and less traumatic to soft tissue than a traditional scalpel or blade that cuts the tissue. Instead, the laser vaporizes or “erases” tissue and cauterizes as it goes, which means less bleeding, less tissue trauma, and a shorter recovery. Plus, no sutures are required. There is little to no downtime, and most patients go about their usual activities following the procedure.
Is laser treatment for tongue ties safe for babies and kids?
Yes! In fact, using the Light Scalpel laser to release an infant tongue tie is one of the safest procedures. In most cases, an anesthetic is not necessary because the procedure is completed in less than a minute. Babies often nurse immediately after the procedure. Adults also respond well to dental laser procedures to release tongue ties.
Laser Frenectomies in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, AND Lincolnshire
Untreated tongue ties can lead to a lifetime of bad oral habits or visual imperfections that hinder your self-confidence. Thankfully, laser frenectomies in Lake Forest can fix the problem. To learn more or schedule a consultation, please call Lake Forest Smiles at (847) 234-4800 or visit our website.