It should be simple, right? Your baby should latch on and suck milk out of your breast, but it’s not turning out that way. Whether you’ve met with a lactation consultant or not, you learn about the possibility of a lip or tongue-tie which could be preventing you and your baby from successfully nursing.
If your baby does have a lip or tongue-tie, you’re far from being alone. Fortunately, there are minor procedures, called frenectomies and frenotomies, that can help your baby latch on properly and make the nursing experience better for both of you. In this post, you’ll learn more about lip and tongue-ties and these treatments to correct the problem.
When Is Lip or Tongue-Tie Treatment Necessary?
Every baby, while still in the womb, has a tiny piece of tissue called a frenulum underneath their tongue and upper lip. For some babies, this tissue can be more pronounced than others and may even restrict the movement of the lip or tongue.
A thin or flexible frenulum usually doesn’t interfere with oral function, but one that is overly thick or restrictive can prevent the baby from creating the necessary suction and tongue movements while breastfeeding. In an attempt to compensate, the infant may try to bite down on the nipple and squeeze milk out, but this not only doesn’t work, but it also can be very painful for the nursing mother.
In other words, if you are experiencing nipple pain, and if your baby doesn’t seem to be getting the hang of breastfeeding, a lip or tongue-tie may be the cause.
What Is the Difference Between a Frenectomy and Frenotomy?
Frenectomies and frenotomies are very similar procedures for addressing lip and tongue-ties. A frenectomy entails removing the frenulum completely while a frenotomy results in a small amount of the frenulum being preserved. Regardless of what the procedure is called or which one is performed, your baby should have improved range of motion and function after it is finished.
Which Procedure Does Your Child Need?
For both frenectomies and frenotomies, the first step toward resolving a lip or tongue-tie is a consultation. This appointment allows your specialist to examine your baby and gauge how thick and restrictive the tie is. At that point, they can recommend the procedure and answer your questions.
Before laser technology, and even in some dental offices today, frenectomies and frenotomies are performed using surgical scissors or a scalpel. While these tools do physically cut the tissue, they often result in bleeding and require a local anesthetic. The good news is that a soft tissue laser, in the hands of a qualified pediatric dentist, involves very little bleeding and discomfort.
Whether your lip/tongue-tie specialist recommends a frenectomy or frenotomy, you can feel confident that your baby will be well cared for with a soft tissue laser. As a result of treatment, you both can have a better, more rewarding nursing experience.
About the Practice
Chicago Tongue-Tie Center has board-certified pediatric dentists who are experienced with using a soft tissue laser. Specifically, we take advantage of LightScalpel, one of the best brands, and the consultation for children with us is free! If you think your little one has a lip or tongue-tie, we invite you to reach out to our team and schedule a meeting. You may get in touch with us through our Contact Us page or call us at 312-248-2455.