Tongue-tie and lip-tie are conditions where a piece of tissue (mucosa) restricts the movement of the tongue and lip, preventing normal function. In children, this may lead to speech issues and difficulty with eating solids. In infants, this can present itself as symptoms for both mum and baby.
What are the possible symptoms?
Some of the symptoms of breastfeeding mum may be painful feeding, short and frequent feeding, cracked and painful nipples and mastitis.
For the baby, a tongue tie or a lip tie may affect a proper latch. A poor latch causes the child to get exhausted quickly and fall off the breast; it may cause the baby to swallow air leading to colic and reflux.
When it comes to breastfeeding, it is important to see the baby and mum as a whole unit. Their happiness depends on each other so if mum is in pain or discomfort, and she might subconsciously want to stop to breastfeed; something that we see time and again in mums of babies with a tongue-tie.
Who can help?
Treating a family who is having trouble with breastfeeding is a holistic team approach. The most important members of this team are the mum and dad and their support crew. An experienced lactation consultant is an integral part of this process as well. His/ her accompaniment and encouragement are essential to correct bad habits and develop proper techniques. Finally, when a tongue tie or lip tie is diagnosed an experienced surgeon or dentist with an appropriate tool plays an important part. A practitioner competent in craniosacral work is also called upon to make sure the baby’s head and neck muscles are working in harmony together.
At Torrensville Dental Care we utilise a state of the art Waterlase laser that uses water to “ablate” the tissues layer by layer minimising the risks of postoperative pain and damage to tissues.
What happens at your appointment?
When you come for the treatment, you meet with Dr Amrein as well as a trained and competent lactation consultant. Together, we will listen to your story and try to answer any questions that you may have. If a diagnosis of lip/tongue tie is confirmed, you are then able to provide informed consent if you would like the release to be performed.
Once your consent is given, the procedure takes only minutes and we encourage parents to leave the room during the short procedure. This is to ensure mums are relaxed once the procedure is complete so she can hold and feed the baby without any stress hormones circulating her body. We ask dad to provide support and comfort to her in these few minutes.
After the treatment, the baby is immediately fed in our purposely set up a feeding room. In most cases, there is an immediate improvement in feeding.