Infant Tongue Ties

infant tongue tieWhether this is your first child or just your latest addition to the brood, if your family has welcomed a new baby into the world, you want them to thrive and flourish. Living with ankyloglossia, the clinical term for a tongue tie, can impact an infant negatively in a variety of ways. Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry wants to inform our patients in Los Gatos, Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas of the Central Coast in California as to how a tongue tie affects infants, and how our team of oral health professionals can help treat this issue.

The impacts of a tongue tie on an infant

If someone has a tongue tie, it is present from birth. While nearly everyone naturally has a band of tissue called a frenum that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, a tongue tie means that this tissue is too short, restricting the mobility of the tongue.
This limited motion often causes difficulties in two areas:

  • Feeding – A tongue tie can make it difficult for a baby to properly latch when they nurse, whether it be to the breast or a bottle. A baby may struggle to get full when nursing and need to feed more often. A tongue tie also can hinder the ability to bond between baby and mother, make it difficult for your infant to gain weight and impede their failure to thrive.
  • Breathing – The restricted movement of the tongue can make it more difficult to breathe properly. These airway issues are more likely during sleep, if the tongue slides back and blocks the airway, impeding breathing or even cutting off the flow of air altogether. This can lead to sleep apnea, even in an infant or very young child.
  • Growth and development – Achieving and maintaining this proper resting posture plays a crucial role in shaping the growth and development of your child’s face, jaws and palate. A tongue tie can hinder this development, leading to issues such as narrow jaws or misaligned bite.
  • Hindering proper resting posture of the tongue – The tongue should rest gently against the roof of the mouth when it is not in use. Failure to achieve this posture can lead to airway issues or frequent breathing through the mouth, which has its own host of negative consequences on both oral health and overall wellness.

Watch for these signs of a tongue tie

Symptoms of a tongue tie include:

  • Your baby’s mouth pops on or off the breast or bottle when he or she feeds
  • Milk or formula leaks out of the sides of your baby’s mouth during feedings
  • Making gagging sounds during feedings
  • Experiencing symptoms of reflux or colic when they feed

A nursing mother also may experience pain, poor drainage from the breast or decreased milk production if their infant has a tongue tie.

If you are noticing any of these issues then you should schedule an appointment with a dentist trained in infant frenectomies as soon as possible.

Treating a tongue tie

At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, our dentists can determine if your infant suffers from a tongue tie after a quick and simple examination of your mouth. If Dr. Ariana detects a tongue tie in your infant, she can release the tie by performing a frenectomy using our LightScalpel laser. This precise dental laser gently releases the band of tissue and allowing the tongue to achieve full range of motion. The procedure can be performed in a matter of seconds, and does so with minimal bleeding and discomfort, a reduced risk of infection and shorter treatment time.

After a frenectomy on an infant

Discomfort should be minor, but can be managed with home remedies. We recommend using one, or a combination, of the following:

  • Breast milk ice chips
  • Organic coconut oil, kept chilled
  • Chamomilla boiron camilia
  • Arnica
  • Infant acetaminophen

Treating infant tongue-ties in Los Gatos, Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz in California

If your infant has a tongue tie, having it identified, diagnosed and treated as soon as possible is the best course of action to avoid any issues in childhood or adulthood. Trust this procedure and your infant’s care to the team at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry. Schedule a consultation today by calling (831) 438-4411 or contacting us online.