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.
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.
Frenectomy process at Happy Kids Dental
Upon receipt of a referral letter from your GP, pediatrician, lactation practitioner or a speech therapist, please contact us to schedule a consultation with our paediatric dentist Dr. Zoi at our Chelsea location.
Before arranging the treatment, an initial consultation with Dr. Zoi will take place, during which your child will be examined, a full medical history will be taken and you, the parent or guardian, will be informed about the procedure and after-care. If your child is a good candidate for treatment, you can proceed to the frenectomy appointment. If not, Dr. Zoi will discuss alternative options with you. A consultation prior to a tongue-tie release appointment usually takes around 20 minutes and costs £150.
We strive to accommodate our patients and offer treatments on the same day, whenever possible. A laser frenectomy procedure takes around 30 minutes and costs £320.
Dr. Zoi will arrange a review appointment with you within a week after treatment to assess the healing process. This appointment will be free of charge.
What is Tongue Tie ?
Tongue tie is when the piece of skin under a baby’s tongue is attached to the tongue. In most babies, this piece of skin separates from the front end of the tongue before they’re born.
A tongue-tie is sometimes diagnosed during a baby’s routine newborn check, but it’s not always easy to spot. It may not become apparent until your baby has problems feeding.
Normal tongue function is important for multiple reasons - it will allow a baby to latch adequately and breastfeed efficiently, promote normal speech development and make it possible for a child to self-cleanse their mouth while eating. It also encourages adequate swallowing patterns and allows for proper growth and development, not to mention it makes it possible to experience fun little things like eating ice cream, playing a wind instrument and sticking out their tongue to catch snowflakes!
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.
Lip tie in babies & children
A lip tie occurs when the upper lip remains attached to the upper gum. Challenges that can occur in children and infants with moderate to severe lip ties:
- Pain with breastfeeding
- Issues with attachment during breastfeeding, as a baby will not be able to raise the upper lip and attach well to the breast
- Spacing between the two central teeth (a large gap can form, called a diastema)
- Difficulties with brushing and flossing
- Increased risk of dental decay
Dr. Zoi Tzelepi
DDS, DDent Paediatric Dentistry Certificate, Special Care Dentistry
Dr. Zoi is a paediatric dentistry specialist and has been registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) since October 2011. Her areas of interest lie in the fields of inhalation sedation, behaviour management and soft-tissue laser application.