Children’s Tongue Tie Specialist at our Chelsea Clinic
There are many children who have difficulties related to tongue-ties and lip-ties, but unfortunately, these conditions are often not identified until later in life.
They can cause speech and feeding difficulties, sleep issues, and a wide-range of other concerns.
A tongue restriction affects speech differently in each individual. Some children with a to-the-tip tie can articulate well (but may struggle with increased effort when speaking). Other children, with a less visible or posterior tie, may have a speech delay or difficulty saying L, R, T, D, N, TH, SH, and Z.
Laser Tongue Tie release - step by step guide for parents
In childhood, these eating difficulties can persist and are evidenced by only eating small amounts of food, slow eating, packing food in the cheeks, and pickiness with textures (soft, mushy foods and meats are typically the most difficult).
A tongue-tied child will often grind his or her teeth at night, snore, or experience other sleep-disordered breathing problems. Releasing a tongue-tie can help a child to sleep more soundly because the tongue will be able to rest on the palate, as it was designed to do, rather than falling back to narrow or block the child’s airway. Sleep-disordered breathing can cause frequent waking, restlessness, bed-wetting, failure to feel refreshed upon waking and accompanying difficulty focusing at school.
Because multiple factors often contribute to the problem, such as large tonsils, a narrow palate and tongue-tie, often a child will be seen by multiple specialists to try to remedy the problem which can be frustrating to both child and parents.Children with tongue-ties often have a history of multiple ear infections and needing ear tubes. All of these can be complicated by the mouth-breathing that frequently occurs in tongue-tied individuals, due to the low resting posture of the tongue. We have found that when there is a tongue-tie, sleep often improves dramatically after a simple in-office procedure.
Issues to look out for:
- Frustration with communication
- Trouble with speech sounds, hard to understand, or mumbling
- Speech delay
- Slow eater or trouble finishing a meal
- Picky eater, especially with textures (e.g. meat, mashed potatoes)
- Spitting out food or packing food in cheeks
- Thumb or finger sucking or prolonged dummy use
- Restless sleep (kicking or moving while asleep)
- Sleeps with mouth open
- Snores (quiet or loud)
- Mouth breathing during the day
If your child experience 4 or more of these symptoms it might be a good idea to see one of our Tongue Tie specialist.
Tongue Tie Indications in Children
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 recognised 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 30mins 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 sterilises 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 may only use topical anaesthetic during frenectomy, since it is a painless procedure when performed with a Biolase laser.
Process in Happy Kids Dental Tongue Tie Centre:
Our specialist will carry out a comprehensive assessment for your child and will be able to advise if a Tongue or Lip Tie partition would be beneficial, as well as assess whether the procedure may warrant sedation - read more here about Inhalation Sedation for over 3s and IV Sedation for over 6s - treatment will therefore be planned and booked for another occasion.
Your consultation may be an online assessment - please book and add the note VIRTUAL so we may send the virtual meeting link across.
Preparation for Treatment
After your consultation, in most cases Dr Suraj will refer your child to one of our partner therapists, this may be for online myofunctional therapy, osteopathy in-house or another partner to provide the pre-procedure preparation he deems necessary.
Your provider will then refer back to us when you’re ready for treatment, this is usually two weeks or more after your consultation but depends on your child’s needs.
Treatment (carried out on a secondary appointment)
For treatment we use a C02 laser (read more below) to complete the procedure as it is quick and clean.
We'll also use a topical numbing gel to make the treatment even more comfortable.
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 well, and review the improvements you'll see in your child's feeding etc.
It’s important to understand that, when your child has a tongue- or lip-tie released, improvement isn’t always instant. It’s typically just the first step in treatment.
Just like any other muscle in the body, the tongue is used to functioning in a certain way. When it’s restricted by a tongue-tie, the body adapts and other muscles have to help compensate. When a tongue-tie is released, your child will have no muscle memory of how to use the tongue effectively without the restriction, so your child’s brain will need some time to learn the new skill.