As a parent, you want the best for your child’s health and well-being. When it comes to their oral health, you may have heard about a condition called tongue-tie, which can affect the way your child’s tongue moves and functions. If you think your child might need tongue-tie treatment, known as a frenectomy, we can help!
If you suspect your child has a tongue-tie, call Sprout and Bloom at 720-637-1760 to schedule an exam in our Littleton, CO office. In the meantime, check out our overview of the tongue-tie procedure.
What is Tongue-Tie?
Tongue-tie, (also called ankyloglossia) affects the thin piece of tissue called the frenulum, which connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. It occurs when the frenulum is shorter or tighter than usual. This can restrict the movement of the tongue and may affect your child’s speech, feeding, and oral development.
There are several common signs that your child may be dealing with this issue:
- Difficulty Breastfeeding – Tongue-tie can make it challenging for infants to latch onto the breast properly, leading to poor feeding. This is frustrating for both mom and baby. You may also notice inadequate weight gain.
- Speech Difficulties – As children grow older, tongue-tie can impact their ability to articulate certain sounds and pronounce words correctly.
- Oral Development Issues – Tongue-tie may contribute to problems with dental health, including tooth decay, gum disease, and misaligned teeth.
- Feeding Difficulties – Tongue-tie can affect your child’s ability to move food around their mouth, causing discomfort or difficulty when eating solid foods. Again, they may have trouble maintaining a healthy weight.
How a Frenectomy Procedure Works
If Dr. Ali recommends a frenectomy, you want to know what to expect. This simple surgical procedure involves releasing or snipping the frenulum to improve your child’s tongue movement. Here is what typically will happen:
- Evaluation – The first step is a thorough examination of your child’s tongue-tie. With her extensive experience and training, Dr. Ali can easily determine if a frenectomy is needed.
- Procedure – Depending on the severity of the tongue-tie, the treatment may be performed using a scalpel, laser, or other specialized instruments. Dr. Ali almost always use a laser, which offers many benefits. A laser works in less time. There will be little, if any, bleeding. It also results in a quicker recovery, with less swelling. We may administer local anesthesia first to ensure your child’s comfort.
- Aftercare and Recovery – Following the procedure, you’ll receive detailed instructions to aid in your child’s recovery. It’s important to follow these instructions carefully to promote healing and minimize discomfort.
Tips on Recovery From Tongue-Tie Treatment
Your child may experience some discomfort after the procedure. Again, this is typically minimal with laser treatment. Over-the-counter pain relievers suitable for their age can help manage any pain. We’re happy to make recommendations for you.
Here are some other tips to ensure a smooth recovery from a tongue-tie procedure:
- Food and Drink – Encourage your child to drink fluids and eat soft, non-irritating foods after the procedure. Cold foods, such as ice cream or popsicles, work well to soothe any discomfort. Bonus: most kids won’t mind eating them!
- Oral Exercises – Dr. Ali will recommend exercises to help your child regain optimal tongue movement. She can also offer some tips to make them fun and engaging for your child. The more positive the experience, the more likely your child won’t mind doing their exercises.
- Oral Hygiene – Maintain good oral hygiene by gently cleaning your child’s mouth with a soft, damp cloth or an age-appropriate toothbrush. Avoid vigorous brushing near the frenulum until it has fully healed.
- Follow-ups – Schedule follow-up visits with our team to monitor your child’s progress and ensure that their tongue is healing properly.
If you suspect that your child may need tongue-tie treatment, you should consult with Dr. Ali ASAP. Remember, a frenectomy is a relatively simple and safe procedure. The earlier in your child’s development it is performed, the less likely they will be to experience developmental delays or other negative effects.
Call us today at 720-637-1760 to schedule an appointment at Sprout and Bloom, or .