During the quiet moments of feeding your newborn, it’s important to ensure everything is as it should be. If you notice difficulty feeding or if your baby is experiencing slow weight gain, your baby may be tongue-tied. Some children are born with a short or tight frenulum, which can restrict optimal movement of the tongue; if that’s the case, your doctor may recommend tongue-tie surgery for children in Los Angeles.
What Causes Tongue-Tie?
A strip of tissue called the frenulum attaches the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Tongue-tie occurs when the frenulum is too short or tight and prevents a baby from latching onto a nipple properly. Moms who suspect that their baby is tongue-tied should consider a visit to a pediatric dental specialist or pediatrician for advice.
Breastfeeding moms may experience a reduced milk supply, cracked and sore nipples, and mastitis risk. Cases of tongue-tie in newborns can range from a minor restriction of the tongue to the tongue fused to the floor of the mouth. Tongue-tie is not always easy to spot and should be assessed by a pediatric oral care professional, but some signs include:
Their tongue doesn’t lift or move from side-to-side
Their tongue is heart-shaped
Slow weight gain
Refusal by the baby to feed
Frequent/prolonged feeding without satiation
Clicking noises when feeding
Tongue-tie surgery for children is called a frenulotomy or frenectomy. The procedure involves removing, reducing, or loosening a small amount of tissue under the tongue with a dental laser or surgical implement. Prior to performing a frenectomy, the pediatric dentist should take a full medical history, interview the mother regarding feeding history and symptoms, conduct an oral exam and assess the extent to which the baby’s tongue is restricted. While the frenectomy may be completed during a single in-office procedure, the pediatric dentist may recommend some pre-procedure preparation to facilitate a smooth procedure, as well as follow-up examination and oral exercises to ensure optimal results.