Some babies can have tongue or upper lip ties and not be symptomatic. To know if these ties are a problem, we ask two major questions. “Is your baby getting enough to eat?” and “Is nursing comfortable for the mother?”
- Poor latch
- Slides off nipple or falls asleep while trying to latch
- Colic and/or reflux symptoms
- Poor weight gain
- Continuous feedings
- Gumming or chewing of the nipple
- Unable to latch to pacifiers or bottle
- Creased, flattened or blanched nipples after nursing
- Cracked, bruised, or blistered nipples
- Severe pain upon infants latch
- Incomplete milk drainage from the breast
- Plugged ducts or mastitis
What is Frenectomy
Frenectomy is a procedure used to correct a congenital condition when the lingual (tongue) or labial (lip) frenulum is tight resulting in restriction of function. This may potentially result in difficulty of breastfeeding and other concerns such as dental, digestive, and speech issues. If your lactation consultant or doctor feels that this procedure is warranted, then your baby may have a tongue tie and/or lip tie.
A tight lower tongue frenum attachment may restrict the mobility of the tongue and appears as a cupping or heart shaped tongue when the tongue is elevated. This can result in an inability to get the tongue under the nipple to create suction to draw out milk. Long term, a tongue tie can result in speech problems and/or issues later with transferring food around the mouth for chewing
A tight upper lip frenum attachment may compromise full-lip flanging. This can result in a shallow latch during breastfeeding. Additionally, the tight upper lip may trap milk, resulting in constant contact of milk to the front of teeth, and possibly lead to dental decay. If the frenum attaches close to the ridge or into the palate a future diastema (gap between the teeth) may also occur.
The Benefits of Using a Laser (Compared to Scissors)
- Minimal to no bleeding allowing better visibility for the doctor
- Enhanced precision due to better visibility
- Complete removal of desired tissue
- Minimally invasive
- Short treatment time (1-2 Minutes)
- Less trauma to underlying tissue layers
- Rapid healing and recovery
- Minimal chance for re-attachment
Babies tolerate the procedure very well, and we try to ensure that discomfort is minimized. Local anesthetic is used to numb the frenulum tissue.
It is common for babies to cry and/or act fussy during and after the procedure. Babies typically only lose a small amount of blood, if any at all. Once the baby is numb, they are treated with the laser and returned immediately to you. Parents are more then welcome to be present during the procedure. Once the procedure is completed you will be directed to our post op recovery room. You will be encouraged to nurse, bottle-feed and/or cuddle your baby. There will be changing amenities available.
If your baby does swallow a small amount of blood, he or she may have brown spit ups or darkened stools after the procedure.
After the Procedure
The primary concern after the procedure is that the healing site will reattach due to the rapid healing capability of the mouth. This could cause a new limitation in mobility, and the return of symptoms. Therefore it is recommended that you perform post-op stretching exercises for your baby.
Post-op exercises and instructions will be provided after your baby’s procedure.
There is a follow up appointment that is scheduled for you and your baby two weeks after the procedure to monitor healing. Dr. Smith implements a team approach, and highly recommends that patient’s also be followed up by a lactation consultant both before and after the procedure, to increase breastfeeding success.
To learn more about this procedure or to book an appointment with us, feel free to drop by our office, give us a call, or leave us a message by clicking the button below.