Tongue Tie Specialist at our Chelsea Clinic
Children may be born with a combination of conditions called a tongue tie and/or a lip tie, causing restrictions in tongue movement. This can result in difficulty with breastfeeding and, in some instances, other health problems such as speech difficulties, airway difficulties and digestive issues. These can generally be corrected by a simple procedure called a frenectomy.
Newborns (0 - 1 year)
If you or your newborn have more than three of these symptoms, even with good weight gain, your child should be properly evaluated for a tongue and lip tie.
- Gagging, choking when eating
- Hiccups often
- Their dummy falls out easily or won’t stay in
- Snoring, noisy breathing or mouth breathing
- Baby seems always hungry and not full
- Clicking or smacking noises when eating
- Sucking blisters on lips
- Baby brings up milk often
- Creased, flattened or blanched nipples
- Lipstick shaped nipples
- Blistered nipples
- Poor breast drainage
- Decreasing milk supply
- Nipple thrush
- Baby prefers one side over other
Tongue or lip tie can often be an underlying cause of these issues.
Frenectomy process at Happy Kids Dental
Dr. Suraj will carry out a comprehensive assessment for you & your newborn.
He will be able to advise if a Tongue or Lip Tie partition would be beneficial.
Treatment (at the consultation)
If treatment is advised, this will be carried out during your appointment. We use a C0² laser (read more below) to complete the procedure as it's quick and clean - we'll also use a topical numbing gel to make the treatment even more comfortable. After your procedure you will be able to feed your baby immediately.
Aftercare (at-home massages)
From the evening of your procedure (before bed-time) until you come to see us for your Review, you will need to complete tongue or lip massages using gloves to ensure the wound does not reattach.
Dr. Suraj will demonstrate these exercises before you leave and you may watch a useful tutorial here.
These exercises must be completed no less than every six hours each day until we see you on your Review appointment.
Review (within 10 days)
Within 10 days we'll need to see your child for an assessment post-procedure to ensure the healing is going well and review the improvements you'll see in your child's feeding etc.
Depending on initial symptoms, we expect at least 35% to disappear or become much less noticeable and your breastfeeding to become much easier.
How Does Tongue Tie Surgery (Frenectomy) Work?
More and more, parents are opting for a safe, fast-healing laser frenectomy.
Rather than using scissors, we use a laser for all of our frenectomies at Happy Kids Dental because we believe the laser has superior healing properties.
At Happy Kids Dental we use the latest generation of technology - The Epic™ X Laser, developed by Biolase.
This is a diode laser and is recognized worldwide as the best method for tongue tie and lip tie treatment.
There are multiple benefits to using this laser:
- Efficiency; the procedure takes less than 30 mins and no stitches are necessary.
- A diode laser works with light energy so there is very little discomfort - there is almost no bleeding and some babies and children sleep through the procedure.
- The laser sterilizes upon touch, therefore the risk of infection is minimal, if any.
- Healing occurs quicker and without complications - the result is healthy, well-healed tissue with less chance of reattachment (relapse).
At Happy Kids Dental we only use topical anaesthetic during frenectomy, since it is a painless procedure when performed with a Biolase laser.
We know our procedure is superior to those carried out with scissors.
We often see babies who had tongue tie releases carried out by other practitioners, with less amount of experience and qualifications. A lot of releases that we see and correct were done only partially and mothers did not see much improvement.
We offer full release and guarantee our results.
We have asked Camilla Oates to answer a few questions about the Tongue Tie procedure
Camilla (BSc, M.Ost, DPO) is an experienced osteopath, working at Kane&Ross osteopathy specialists. She holds a Masters in Osteopathy, an Honours Degree in Biomedical Science, Postgraduate Certificate in Paediatric Osteopathy and treats babies, children and pregnant women.
How do you diagnose a Tongue Tie?
Should you get your baby's tongue tie cut?
Caring for your baby after a tongue-tie separation
Tongue Tie - Q&A
- The tip of your baby’s tongue looks notched or heart-shaped when they stick it out.
- They have difficulty sticking their tongue out.
- The tip of your baby’s tongue can’t reach the roof of their mouth or further than the edge of their lower lip.
- They have difficulty moving their tongue from side to side.
- Trouble latching on or staying attached to your breast
- Feeding for a long time, having a short break, then feeding again
- Being unsettled and seeming hungry all the time
- Failing to gain weight as quickly as they should
- Making a “clicking” sound when feeding
- Excessive gassiness
- Excessive drooling
- Poor weight gain
- Taking a long time to feed
- Excessive gassiness
A tongue tie can sometimes cause problems such as speech difficulties, difficulty eating certain foods and difficulty cleaning teeth. Some other problems are appearance-related, such as a wide gap between the bottom two front teeth, or a V-shaped notch in the end of the tongue.
Check with a speech and language therapist if more than half of a three-year-old child’s speech is not understood by people outside of the family, or if the child has difficulty licking an ice cream cone.
It is possible that latching will be a struggle at first, since we would use a small amount of anaesthetic to complete the procedure. The numbness will wear off about 30-45 minutes afterwards, so do not be alarmed if latching is difficult at first.
Tongue ties can vary in severity and can include what we call a “posterior tongue tie”, which may require a few weeks of practice before you see the benefits of the frenectomy.
We recommend to be thorough with the prescribed post-treatment exercises and to work with a lactation consultant and an osteopath to achieve optimal results and avoid reattachment.
Is your child’s lingual tongue tie or lip tie causing discomfort, or limiting their ability to eat, speak or swallow? Complete the form or call us to arrange your appointment.
- Tongue-tie typically affects boys more often than girls.
- Tongue-tie is not the only reason for breastfeeding difficulty.
- Sometimes tongue-tie does not cause speech delay, but can affect a child’s speech articulation - the ability to form sounds and pronounce words.
- Tongue-tie diagnoses are increasing as breastfeeding becomes more commonplace.