Three Myths about Tongue-Tie Releases

Categories: Tongue Tie

myths about tongue tiesSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

The internet serves many great purposes; for instance, you’ve found this article! Because of that, we can assume you may be searching for information about tongue ties and their release. Perhaps you’re a new mom wanting to breastfeed and your pediatrician or a lactation consultant has suggested a tongue-tie release to help your baby latch on and nurse.

A tongue tie, also called tethered oral tissue, occurs when the band of tissue connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth (also known as the lingual frenum) is too short, thick or tight. It restricts and limits the movement of the tongue, often making it difficult for an infant to latch onto his or her mom while nursing.

Like many medical procedures, opinions differ about tongue-tie releases. Some online publications have cherry-picked rare cases to sensationalize the basic risks of treatments and procedures to address tethered oral tissue. While dramatizing those cases, they downplay and sometimes outright ignore the thousands of cases in which the procedure went exactly right and benefitted babies and families.

In today’s blog, Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry’s Dr. Ariana Ebrahimian is sorting through all the information — and misinformation — and debunking three myths about tongue-tie releases.

Myth 1: Tongue tie releases are a “money grab” being performed haphazardly by unqualified healthcare providers

Patients should research the education, training and experience of any dentist or healthcare provider they’re considering for procedures like a tongue-tie release. It’s important to work with a provider who has a team that is well-versed in how to properly diagnose and treat oral ties. Treating tethered oral tissue is a collaborative process. Dr. Ebrahimian has consulted with various specialists — lactation consultants, occupational therapists, craniosacral therapists, osteopath, and chiropractors — on tongue-tie releases, which our Santa Cruz family dentist office will recommend only when warranted.

Myth 2: Providers push tongue-tie releases only on tired new mothers who desperately want to breastfeed

In many cases, tethered oral tissue has prevented a newborn from being able to properly latch on and nurse. Since a breastfed baby has to learn to use his or her tongue to express milk, tethered oral tissue under the tongue can prevent the baby from being able to breastfeed.

But breastfeeding is only one possible complication caused by a tongue tie. Studies, including one by S. Zaghi and A.J. Yoon, show that restricted lingual freedom is responsible for the underdevelopment of the upper jaw. It can also lead to low tongue posture and a dysfunctional swallow, which will prevent the tongue from applying the pressure needed to open the eustachian tubes/drain the ears, leading to recurrent ear infections in kids and chronic sinus issues in adults.

Myth 3: The laser used to release tongue ties is painful to babies

Dr. Ebrahimian uses LightScapel, which is a precise CO2 dental laser that emits energy that can remove a few cells of soft tissue at a time — or a large area at once — cauterizing nerves and sealing blood vessels as it works. The result is a more comfortable tongue-tie release, or frenectomy, that causes little bleeding and heals faster than other modalities. LightScalpel is the least traumatic way to perform infant frenectomies because it avoids the incomplete release that often happens with scissors or a scalpel and the thermal injury that can happen with a diode laser.


If you’re searching for information on tethered oral tissue, Dr. Ebrahimian would be happy to answer any question you have. Give us a call at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, (831) 824-5111, or reach us online to schedule a consultation today.