What is a tongue tie?
A tongue tie is a very common condition. Everyone has tissues underneath and to the sides of your tongue that connect your tongue to the floor of your jaw. We are all different though, and some people are born with extra tissues (called a frenum) connecting the tongue and the jaw. This extra tissue inhibits mobility of the tongue, which is very important and leaving a tongue tie can cause development function issues.
Why is tongue mobility important?
In the beginning years of life, it is important that babies be able to breastfeed well, both in quality and quantity. Having a tongue tie prevents the child from creating strong suction, which can cause a range of side effects, such as gas and colic from ingesting air, long feedings, incomplete emptying, sleep while nursing, spit up, as well as pain. Later in life, a lack of tongue development can cause poor development of the upper jaw, malocclusion (incorrect bite), ear infections, mouth breathing, obstructive sleep apnea, and more.
What is a lip tie?
While everyone’s lips are connected to their upper and lower gums, sometimes extra tissue is present that creates a stronger or tighter connection. This extra tissue also ties the lips to the gums and can cause issues both now (pain or difficulty in nursing) and later in life (gum recession, difficulty cleaning, progressive space between teeth).
Why is lip mobility important?
During the breastfeeding years, the lips need to splay outwards (away from the nipple), to form a deep latch, creating a seal. This latch allows the child to efficiently remove milk into its mouth and swallow it, allowing the child to obtain critical nutrients. Without a proper latch breastfeeding can be ineffective, uncomfortable, or painful for the mother, and the child will have a hard time getting the proper nutrition he or she requires.
How can I tell if my I or my child has a tongue or lip tie?
Without being seen for an examination, it’s very difficult to tell whether either of these conditions are present. There are various symptoms that indicate the presence of a lip and/or tongue tie.
Take our quiz to see if you or your child are exhibiting signs/symptoms of a tongue or lip tie! We will contact you once we receive your results.
Why is a correction of these conditions necessary if the child is older or an adult?
Think about the last time you had chips, crackers, or even bread. These foods tend to stick to the tops of our teeth, and one of the roles of the tongue is to help clean food stuck on or between teeth. If teeth aren’t cleaned properly (as well as brushed properly), food stuck to teeth leads to tooth decay, which needs to be corrected.
An upper lip tie is generally located between the two front upper teeth. As the infant or adult teeth come in and extra tissue is present here, the extra tissue will generally force the teeth apart, creating a gap between the two front teeth. It is important that all body parts grow together (although not always at the same rate) as we go from childhood into adulthood. The tissue in the mouth isn’t extra fat or skin, and your baby/child won’t outgrow it.
Why is it called a frenectomy?
A frenum is extra tissue that is not supposed to be where it is. So removal of the frenum is a frenectomy. Other names for the procedure are frenulectomy or tongue tie correction.
What are the benefits of the Solea cold CO2 laser?
The Solea laser works so fast that the human body can’t recognize it as painful. Yes, there is some discomfort, but it’s not painful per se. We don’t use any anesthesia on children under 2 years old, as there can be serious, uncontrollable reactions. Topical anesthesia may be used on older children, and local anesthesia may be used on teenagers or adults.
Are there other options available for correction?
Yes, there are other options available, but we feel the Solea laser is the best approach.
A scalpel may be used for a frenectomy, but this also requires stitches/sutures to allow the wound to heal as well as keeping the tissue from growing back together. As can guess, this method is very painful. The benefit is that generally no stretches are required with this method.
Will my child be in pain?
Pain is a relative term, and each person feels pain differently. The child will have mild to moderate discomfort, but we would not say that they are in pain. The laser works faster than our brain can receive pain signals. We don’t use anesthesia on young children (under 2), but we can use topical anesthesia on adults, teens, and children over 2 to help alleviate the discomfort. Over the counter pain medication is advised (if necessary) after the procedure.
What happens after the tongue or lip tie is corrected?
When the Solea Laser is used to correct the tongue or lip tie, the body recognizes this as a wound and it wants to heal itself by growing the tissue back together. Simple stretches must be done to keep the tissues apart to heal, and not allowing them to heal in the same way that they previous were. We will give you visual instructions on how to properly do these exercises, as well as a tracking sheet and stickers that your child or you can put on the tracker.
Is a frenectomy covered by insurance?
We are able to submit the procedure to both your medical and dental insurance, but we can never guarantee payment from either insurance policy. Some insurance plans consider it a dental procedure, and some consider it a medical procedure. The location of the correction (tongue or lip) is also a factor. For example, some policies will consider a tongue tie a dental procedure, but a lip tie a medical procedure. We do our best to estimate your benefits as accurately as possible, but in the end the contract is between you and your insurance provider(s), and they will determine what your financial of the portion will be.
How can I schedule an exam at your office in Indianapolis?
Please call our office phone at 317-602-8924 or request an appointment online. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have as well as schedule an exam for you or your child.