What Are Tongue-Ties and Lip-Ties?
A physical condition that limits the use of the tongue is called a tongue-tie. This restriction often causes various issues and affects around 20% of the population. A lip-tie, on the other hand, is a condition where the upper lip is restricted and cannot move normally. It can cause difficulty with nursing, make it harder to brush the top teeth and can also lead to a gap in the teeth.
The Symptoms of Tongue-Ties and Lip-Ties in Infants
The symptoms of tongue-ties and lip-ties vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some common symptoms include:
- Difficulty breastfeeding or bottle-feeding
- Poor weight gain
- Speech difficulties
- Dental problems, such as tooth decay and misalignment
- Inability to stick out the tongue
- Inability to move the tongue from side to side
- Inability to touch the roof of the mouth with the tongue
- Pain and discomfort
The Symptoms of Tongue-Ties and Lip-Ties in Toddlers & Older Children
Tongue-ties and lip-ties are conditions that can cause difficulties with speech, feeding, and sleep, among other concerns. Many children have these conditions, but they are often not identified until later in life.
Here are some signs to look out for:
- Speech: A tongue restriction affects speech differently in each child. Some children may speak well but with extra effort, while others may have a speech delay or difficulty producing certain sounds like L, R, T, D, N, TH, SH, and Z.
- Feeding: Children that are tongue-tied often have trouble nursing or taking a bottle and may also have difficulty transitioning to solid foods, with choking, gagging, or trouble swallowing certain textures.
- Sleep: A tongue-tie can cause teeth grinding, snoring, or sleep-disordered breathing problems, leading to frequent waking, restlessness, bed-wetting, and difficulty focusing. Releasing a tongue-tie can help your child sleep more soundly, as the tongue will be able to rest on the palate, as it was designed to do.
We are here to support you and your child every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help your child.
Other CO2 Laser Treatments
Besides labial and lingual frenectomies (tongue-tie or lip-tie procedures), the CO2 laser can be used in gingivectomies (removing excess gum tissue) and operculectomies (exposing a wisdom tooth). These procedures require the removal of soft tissue from the mouth, and CO2 lasers are gentle, precise, and virtually pain-free. Unlike traditional methods, which can be scary for kids and cause discomfort and bleeding, CO2 lasers use a beam of light to gently remove the tissue without causing harm. The laser even helps seal the wound, which promotes faster healing and reduces discomfort.
Regardless of what brings your child to our office, our experienced pediatric dentists at Sweetpea Smiles use CO2 lasers to ensure your child's procedure is as easy and stress-free as possible.
How the CO2 Laser Procedure Works
CO2 laser treatment is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed in the dental office. The laser emits a beam of light that removes tissue with precision and minimal damage to the surrounding area.
During the procedure, the child is given a local anesthetic to numb the area. The laser is then used to remove the excess tissue in the frenulum, allowing the tongue or lip to move freely. The procedure is quick and typically takes less than 10 minutes. Most children experience little to no discomfort during or after the procedure.
The Benefits of CO2 Laser Treatment
CO2 laser treatment for tongue-ties and lip-ties offers several benefits, including:
- Quick and easy procedure
- Minimally invasive with no need for stitches or sutures
- Little to no discomfort during or after the procedure
- Improved breastfeeding or bottle-feeding
- Improved speech and language development
- Improved dental health and alignment
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Insurance & Financing
Sweetpea Smiles works with many dental insurance companies, and we are happy to file and track your claims to help you maximize your benefits. We are in-network with most PPO plans which include the following: Cigna, MetLife, Delta Dental, Aetna, Guardian, BlueCross BlueShield, United Health Care, Principal, and Boon Chapman.
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How are tongue-ties and lip-ties diagnosed?
Tongue-ties and lip-ties are usually diagnosed by a pediatric dentist or a lactation consultant, who will assess your child's oral function and look for signs of tongue-tie or lip-tie.
Can a tongue-tie or lip-tie affect breastfeeding?
Yes, tongue-ties and lip-ties can make it difficult for a baby to latch onto the breast properly, leading to pain for the mother and poor weight gain for the baby.
Can a tongue-tie or lip-tie be treated?
Yes, there are various treatments available to release the tongue-tie or lip-tie, including surgical options and non-surgical options like CO2 laser treatment.
How does CO2 laser treatment work for tongue-ties and lip-ties?
CO2 laser treatment is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses a laser to release the frenulum. This treatment is quick and safe, with minimal discomfort and minimal risk of bleeding or infection.
Is CO2 laser treatment safe for children?
Yes, CO2 laser treatment is a safe and effective treatment for children with tongue-ties and lip-ties. The laser is precise and gentle, and the procedure can be done in just a few minutes.
What is the recovery like after CO2 laser treatment?
Most children experience very little discomfort after CO2 laser treatment, and recovery is usually quick. Your child may need to do some exercises to help stretch the tongue or lip, but your dentist will give you detailed instructions on caring for your child after the procedure.