A tongue tie develops when the frenum beneath the tongue is too tight, and can be a common problem that can affect your child’s feeding, growth, and speech development. While the condition can have far-reaching consequences, it is can be easily treated. At Heringer Dentistry LLC, Dr. Everett E. Heringer or Dr. Brielle Renz can perform a quick tongue tie release, also known as a frenectomy. When you visit our Bismarck, ND, practice, we use modern laser techniques to loosen excess tissue under your child’s tongue. In this way, we can improve range of motion and oral function. Additionally, our tools can provide effective results with negligible discomfort, swelling, or bleeding.
What Is a Tongue Tie?
The lingual frenulum is an elastic-like cord of tissue that runs below the tongue and anchors it to the floor of the mouth. These tissues appear early in fetal development and typically shrink before birth and during the first three months of life. Although a small remaining frenulum is normal, excess tissue can significantly restrict tongue movement. Tongue ties can vary in severity and appearance. In extreme cases, the frenulum may pull the tongue tip back so that the tongue has a heart shape. In other instances, a broad, web-like frenulum may constrict the entire bottom of the tongue.
In some cases, tongue ties will be easy to detect visually. However, there are other telltale signs of a tied tongue in your child. These indications include:
- Inability to latch onto the nipple properly when breastfeeding
- Low weight or inability to put on weight
- Fussiness, gagging, or vomiting when breastfeeding
- Slow or abnormal speech development
What Happens during a Tongue Tie Release?
Before releasing a tongue tie, our team will numb the lingual frenulum and the surrounding areas. Dr Heringer or Dr. Renz can then use a state-of-the-art laser to make a small incision in the frenulum. The laser can remove excess tissues while sealing the blood vessels. Because we use lasers, your child should experience minimal discomfort. In addition, the risks of bleeding and infection are negligible. Your child may also have some slight inflammation, which we can minimize with suitable medication, if needed. Any sensitivity should subside within a few days.
The Importance of Tongue Tie Release
A tongue tie release can significantly improve the tongue’s range of motion. However, your child will need to adjust to these new movements. Therefore, it may be several weeks before you notice significant changes in nursing. You may need to work with a lactation consultant for optimal results. Additionally, we often recommend working with a specialist to help your child adjust. Many patients will want to work with a speech therapist after tongue tie release, especially if your older child has already started to speak.
Long-term effects include clearer speech, better social acclimation, and a greater sense of self-confidence for your child as they grow.
With patience and appropriate post-surgical care, this procedure can have enormous benefits for your little one. Once your child is able to nurse properly, they may put on normal weight. Breastfeeding may also be much more pleasant and comfortable for you. Long-term effect scan also include clearer speech, better social acclimation, and a greater sense of self-confidence for your child as they grow.
Improve Your Child's Oral Health
A frenectomy or tongue tie release can help your child eat well and speak properly. To learn more about tongue tie release and to schedule your child’s appointment, contact our office online or call us at (701) 255-4850 today.