San Francisco and Marin CA
Tongue-ties are something that you’re either born with or not, and they do not resolve on their own. This condition can have a lasting impact on facial and airway development that could lead to severe consequences as a child grows and into adulthood. Children and adults can benefit from tongue-tie treatment. But what’s the best age to treat tongue-ties? Today on our blog, the Bay Area dentists at Glen Park Dental answer that question so that you can be sure to get the help that you or your child needs.
What is a tongue-tie?
The term “tongue-tied” often refers to someone who can’t speak clearly or mixes their words, often because they are excited or distracted when they talk. But a tongue-tie is also a medical condition in which the tongue’s frenulum, the thin tissue tethering the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, is too short and thus restricts the tongue’s movement. There are different classifications of tongue-ties. Mild cases may be hard to detect without the help of a medical professional, while severe cases are more obvious because the person is unable to touch the tip of their tongue to the roof of their mouth while the jaw is open wide. It’s those in-between, mild tongue-tie cases that are most crucial to diagnose, especially during infancy.
How can I tell if my baby is tongue-tied?
Mothers may be able to tell if their baby is tongue-tied if they or the baby experience any of these issues:
- The baby nurses or feeds frequently
- The baby is cranky or fussy (even when baby has been fed, has a clean diaper, and isn’t sleepy)
- The baby never seems full
- The baby experiences failure to thrive or weight loss
- The nursing mother has sore breasts or mastitis
If you’re a nursing mother and notice these signs, then it’s possible that your baby isn’t latching properly, which could be due to a tongue-tie. But a consultation with our dentists that treat tongue-ties in the Bay Area should be your first step to resolving the problem. Ignoring a tongue-tie may lead to airway issues, stunted growth, poor facial development, crooked teeth, or speech delays.
How do dentists treat tongue-ties?
At Glen Park Dental, we offer a simple solution to tongue-ties. Using a precise dental laser, we perform a frenectomy and gently release the restrictive tissue under the tongue. The laser helps reduce discomfort, and results in minimal bleeding and a faster recovery. Tongue-tie treatment is suitable for patients of any age, including newborns. For infants, the dentist usually does not need to administer a numbing agent, because releasing the tongue-tie takes only seconds. Babies will generally want to nurse immediately after their tongue-tie release. However, adults that have developed orofacial myofunctional disorders as a result of a tongue-tie, gentle stretching or myofunctional therapy may be necessary to help train the tongue to function properly while breathing and swallowing, and when at rest with the mouth closed. But most adults find that they can resume their usual habits immediately after surgery, although you may want to avoid spicy foods or opt for foods that are chilled or that can be consumed at room temperature for the first few days after the procedure.
Tongue-Tie Treatment in Marin, and the Bay Area of California
Tongue-ties should be treated as soon as they are discovered and can be treated at any age. If you would like to learn more about tongue-ties or schedule an evaluation, please contact Glen Park Dental by calling (415) 585-1500 or visit our website to schedule a consultation.