Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal of awareness surrounding tongue and lip ties. Which means many mums and babies are suffering through this condition without knowing there is a simple and effective fix.
Thankfully, some practitioners are becoming increasingly more involved in the lactation period and helping mums through any difficulties they may come across.
What are tongue-ties and lip-ties?
Tongue-ties and lip-ties happen when the fraenum (soft tissue attaching the lip and tongue to the gums) is too short or restricts the range of motion for the lip or tongue in some way. When this happens babies are unable to latch on properly because they cannot form the correct mouth shape. They may also have trouble swallowing and breathing. Because the tongue plays a crucial part in this movement.
What are the symptoms of tongue-ties and lip-ties?
While this condition may be difficult to diagnose for the untrained eye, there are some symptoms to look out for. These include:
- Colic or reflux in excess
- Difficulty latching
- A gassy baby
- Poor weight gain
- Discomfort or pain for the mother during feeding
- Sore, cracked or bleeding nipples
What are the treatment options for tongue and lip-ties?
Marriott & Hand cut the ties using our special soft-tissue laser. This ensures the wound heals efficiently without the need for stitches. The wound will be automatically sealed. The treatment will be over quite quickly with minimal discomfort.
This treatment will restore the full function of the baby’s lips and tongue meaning they will be able to latch on properly, feed properly and will reduce all of the difficulties associated with this condition. This means no more feeding every 2 hours. Your baby cannot get enough milk in each feed, no more discomfort from feeding and no more gassy, colicky baby.
This treatment can only be performed on babies up to about 7 – 10 months of age. After this, general anaesthetic will need to be used and the treatment becomes considerably more complicated. We recommend making an appointment to have your baby assessed if you have any concerns at all. We will need a referral from your lactation consultant, maternal health nurse or doctor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Treating this condition as soon as possible will mean a happier, more fulfilled baby sooner.
Does the condition only affect babies?
If the condition is not treated in infancy it will continue into childhood and adulthood. In the early stages of treating this condition, we would generally only notice the problem around the age of 2-4 when the child comes in for their first appointment. Or even later when they come to receive orthodontic treatment. This was because as dentists we don’t generally have access to newborns as they haven’t developed any teeth! Thankfully, with the increasing awareness of these concerns, we have been able to team up with lactation nurses to tackle this condition together.
Some of our adult patients present with similar issues. Living with this condition can be considerably uncomfortable for speech, eating and drinking as well as the development of teeth.
Tongue-ties and lip-ties Melbourne
If you are concerned about your baby’s feeding and latching on, or you are experiencing discomfort while breastfeeding, call the friendly team at Marriott & Hand to organise an appointment by phone or through our contact box below.