San Francisco and Marin CA
Tongue-ties are a medical condition that is present from birth. It is caused by when the tissue that tethers the tongue to the bottom of the mouth is too restrictive and tight, which prevents the tongue from moving as it should when at rest, swallowing, or speaking. Unfortunately, undiagnosed tongue-ties can lead to problems including failure to thrive, difficulty feeding, colic, fussiness, constipation, and gas for babies, as well as painful breastfeeding sessions and mastitis for nursing mothers. However, lactation consultants, pediatricians, and even some dentists have touted traditional tongue-tie releases as the go-to treatment. The problem is that many babies have received tongue-tie treatment when they didn’t need it, or the procedure was done without using a CO2 laser. So today on the blog, our neuromuscular dentists in San Francisco at Glen Park Dental explain the importance of choosing the best dentist to treat tongue-ties.
Who should diagnose and treat tongue-ties?
Experienced and qualified dentists, pediatricians, or ENTs are the medical professionals that diagnose and treat infant tongue-ties. It’s essential that tethered oral tissue treatment be a collaborative process, which may involve working with a lactation consultant, occupational therapist, craniosacral therapist, osteopath, or chiropractor, depending on your child’s condition and needs. Many physicians tout tongue-tie treatment as a quick and painless procedure that involves a quick snip of the tethered oral tissue with no follow-up treatments or protocol required. While the risks of tongue-tie treatment are rare, they do exist, especially in cases where collaborative care is absent.
Why is tongue-tie treatment recommended?
Ignoring a tongue-tie can lead to developmental issues as your child grows. Unfortunately, tongue-ties don’t go away naturally. A tongue-tie prevents the tongue from applying appropriate pressure to the roof of the mouth, which occurs when the mouth is at rest and during correct swallowing patterns. This gentle pressure helps stimulate the upper dental palate to encourage growth. Without this pressure the eustachian tube may malfunction and lead to frequent ear infections during childhood or chronic sinus issues in adulthood. Additionally, one expert study states that tongue-ties result in an underdeveloped jaw as the upper dental arch is narrow, which affects tooth alignment, and airway health that could result in snoring or sleep breathing disorders like sleep apnea.
Why is a CO2 laser the best treatment option for tongue-ties?
Physicians have been releasing tongue-ties for centuries, and the most common treatment is using a scalpel or scissors to sever the tethered oral tissue. This method bears the most risk, may result in an incomplete release, and is not the most advanced method of tongue-tie treatment that is available today. In recent years, many dentists have offered diode laser treatment to burn the tethered tissue, releasing the restriction. Diode lasers have a thermal tip that produces significant heat, which may cause thermal injury, delaying healing and recovery. Instead, CO2 laser offers a relatively fast treatment with little to no bleeding or pain for the patient. A CO2 laser is also the least invasive treatment option for tongue-ties. When paired with collaboration efforts between your dentist and other medical professionals, your child will receive the utmost case with the best results compared to traditional tongue-tie treatments that are still in use today.
Best tongue-tie treatment in San Francisco, California
As a parent, you want to make informed decisions when it comes to your child’s healthcare. Unfortunately, just because a medical professional offers treatment that fits your needs doesn’t mean that they offer the best and safest approach. If your child has a tongue-tie or you’d like to learn more about CO2 laser treatments for tethered oral tissue, contact Glen Park Dental today by calling (415) 585-1500.