Tongue Tie Procedure

Tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, is a condition where the lingual frenulum, a thin piece of tissue, is unusually short or tight. This restricts the tongue’s movement, leading to difficulties with breastfeeding, eating, and sleeping.

Healthcare providers or pediatric tongue-tie specialists often recommend newborn tongue-tie surgery, which is a small procedure that helps remedy this condition.

What is a Tongue Tie?

Usually, a flap or fold of tissue or membrane connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is present in everyone. This membrane is known as the lingual frenulum (or frenum). Mostly, it goes away before birth or gets thin and stretchy as babies grow.

In newborns with tongue-tie, the scenario that unfolds is that the frenulum, which connects the tongue’s underside part to the mouth’s floor, remains thick and short or is mostly present. In this case, their tongue can be restrained or held down tightly and might not have the movement as it naturally should.

In mild cases, only a tiny fold of tissue might hold the tip of the tongue in place, and in extreme cases, the whole bottom of the tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth. Ankyloglossia is present in about 10% of newborns.

When is a Tongue-Tie Procedure Recommended?

Traditionally, to improve breastfeeding problems, tongue-tie surgery is recommended soon after the infant is diagnosed. Every child is different, so there is no universal answer. The best thing is to schedule an appointment with us.

Type of tongue-tie surgeries

Tongue-tie surgery no longer follows the same procedure for all newborns. Now, there are different kinds of tongue-tie surgeries. Today, when it comes to tongue-tie surgery, you can choose what procedure would suit your child, and we will offer guidance on what is best for your baby.

Frenotomy

This is a simple and quick procedure using the traditional method, in which the doctor cuts the frenulum with a small scalpel to release the tongue. The healing from frenulum release surgery may take a few days. But mostly, the newborns don’t need anesthesia for numbing and can feed right away after the surgery.

Laser Frenectomy

Tongue-tie laser surgery is similar to a frenotomy except that a laser is used instead of a scalpel or knife. A laser frenectomy may help the area bleed less and heal faster, as the laser can help make tinier snips or cuts.

Tongue-Tie Electrocautery

Electrocautery surgery uses electricity to heat and cut. This method is similar to frenotomy for a tongue-tie procedure; electricity is used to release the tongue instead of a scalpel or laser. It may help reduce bleeding and speed up the healing process.

Frenuloplasty

This surgical procedure is quick but complicated. In more severe cases, where the frenulum is thicker, or the restriction is significant, a more complex procedure may be needed to release and reshape the frenulum. This method is applied to reattach the sutures with the frenulum. In some cases, babies may face tongue tie complications, and later on, they may need tongue exercises and speech therapy to fully recover.

Benefits of tongue-tie surgery

Benefits associated with tongue-tie surgery are

  • Post-surgery, newborns can feed better and gain weight more quickly
  • Doing this procedure can prevent dental problems in later life
  • This procedure can prevent speech problems in the long run
  • It can help improve breastfeeding problems

Post-Procedure Care

Unless a local anesthetic is used, normal feedings and diets can be resumed after tongue-tie surgery. After surgery, make sure to call the healthcare provider if your child experiences symptoms such as fever or chills, uncontrolled bleeding, or difficulty eating.

Some infants take more time to heal or adjust after tongue-tie surgery. According to some mothers there is an immediate improvement that takes place in their baby’s comfort when they feed. In some cases, the child may need to take speech therapy sessions post-surgery.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If your child is showing symptoms of tongue tie, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our friendly team at Thomas Family Dental in Columbia, Missouri.

We can properly guide you on whether your child requires surgery or if the issue can be solved through alternate treatments.

Contact Us and set an appointment today. Call us at 573-449-2858.