San Francisco and Marin CA
For most mothers, having a baby is an incredible miracle filled with hope and promise. However, some may become discouraged when their newborn fails to latch properly, or they experience difficulty breastfeeding. Fortunately, when moms have trouble breastfeeding their infants, lactation consultants can step in to find out why there is a problem and provide direction to correct it. Typically, newborns who fail to latch may suffer from a tongue tie. Our San Francisco pediatric dentists at Glen Park Dental share on the blog today information about infant tongue-tie treatments.
What is a tongue-tie?
Tongue ties develop while in the womb and are a condition passed on as a dominant trait in a hereditary gene mutation. Babies born with ankyloglossia, or a tongue-tie, typically have a short thick frenulum that prevents the tongue’s movement. The frenulum is a thin tissue band that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Our Marin children’s dentists explain that your child has a three to five percent chance of having a tongue tie when born. In most cases, the condition is discoverable as soon as a baby attempts to latch onto its mother to breastfeed. Then, the lactation consultant will often request that the mother speaks with a pediatrician to discuss treatment options.
How does tongue tie interfere with breastfeeding?
Infants with tongue ties may struggle to produce an open mouth seal when breastfeeding. When the child can’t obtain a good seal, then there’s no suction. Unfortunately, many babies wind up using their gums or lips to latch on, which can create further oral health complications for your child. Additionally, when your infant fails to latch properly, it can cause painful sensations while breastfeeding and leave the baby still feeling hungry, resulting in frequent feedings. Our Marin laser dentists explain that an ineffective latch may decrease the mother’s milk supply, result in the child swallowing too much air, and reduce the child’s weight gain.
What are the long-term effects of a tongue tie?
Once a baby stops breastfeeding, their tongue-tie condition may not be as much of a concern to most mothers. However, our children’s dentist in San Francisco explains that a tongue tie can cause complications with your child’s oral health, including dental occlusion, or the alignment of their teeth. Additionally, your child may struggle with speech articulation or oral biomechanics, resulting in their inability to appropriately pronounce words, even if they easily learn speech and speech patterns. In some cases, parents receive a diagnosis from their pediatrician that their child’s tongue tie does not require treatment in their adolescent years because it should stretch over time. Unfortunately, there is recent research that botches the claim and states that the frenulum has a high collagen cell level that prevents the tissue from stretching.
How are infant tongue ties treated?
Your decision to treat your infant’s tongue-tie condition may come down to the severity. For some children with mild cases, their primary care providers may wait to see if the child’s anatomy will change over time. For children with moderate to severe cases, our pediatric dentist in Marin may recommend a frenectomy, an in-house procedure that releases the lingual frenulum. This simple procedure only takes a few minutes, can be done in one visit, and improve your child’s oral health, growth, and development. Once we complete the procedure, the child’s caregivers or parents must physically stretch the cut or lasered tissue every day for about three to four weeks. Even though you and your baby may not like the stretches, they are necessary to prevent regrowth and shortening the band again. Procedural side effects may include light bleeding, infection, tongue damage, or salivary gland damage.
Pediatric Dentists in Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco, California
Your infant’s overall health and wellness should be a concern and focus, especially during the breastfeeding months. Even though your child’s tongue tie may correct itself with growth and development, it’s always best to consult with your child’s physician or our pediatric dentists in the Bay Area about needing treatment. Please call Glen Park Dental at (415) 585-1500 or contact us online to schedule your child’s appointment today.