Knoxville and Maryville, TN
Our tongues and upper lips are tethered to our gums with a thin piece of tissue known as a frenum. When this tissue is too restrictive, it results in what is known as tethered oral tissue (TOTS). When this occurs, it happens as we are formed, and a person is either born with it or not. Tethered oral tissue should be corrected as soon as it is detected, to prevent long-term oral health, and health consequences into adulthood.
A common form of TOTS is a tongue-tie, which means the frenum under the tongue is too short and restricts movements of the tongue. Although a tongue-tie is not painful in and of itself, it certainly creates many challenges, and can affect a child’s growth and development.
What is the problem with a tongue-tie?
A tongue-tie can cause a variety of problems for babies and children. If left untreated, the effects of tongue-tie can linger into adulthood. Babies with a tongue-tie often experience difficulty latching properly when breastfeeding. If your baby is fussy when attempting to feed, seems hungry often, or as the mother you experience pain while breastfeeding, your baby could have a tongue-tie. This form of TOTS can also affect babies who are bottle-fed. If left untreated, a tongue-tie can result in crooked teeth, difficulty practicing oral hygiene, chewing difficulty, and interfere with speech development.
How is tongue-tie diagnosed?
There are four types of tongue-tie, which can only be diagnosed by a physician or a dentist. Diagnosing tongue-tie can be done by a simple evaluation of your baby, considering any issues with feeding or development as well. It may be difficult, as a parent, to determine if your child or baby has a tongue-tie. However, an experienced dentist, such as the ones on staff at Crestview Dental Care, can confirm whether your child has a tongue-tie.
How is tongue-tie treated?
Treating a tongue-tie is done by what is known as a frenectomy, or tongue-tie release. To do so, we use a state-of-the-art CO2 laser that safely and painlessly releases the restrictive tissue. This advanced laser is much preferred over the traditional surgery methods. Releasing a tongue-tie with a laser results in little to no bleeding, less discomfort, is safer and faster, and can even be used to release tethered oral tissue in babies as young as two years old!
Most babies do not require any type of pain medication following the procedure, although they may seem a bit fussier than usual. In fact, following a tongue-tie release, your baby can begin to breastfeed immediately. The dentist will provide you with necessary follow-up care.
If you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact Crestview Dental Care today at (865) 982-1700. We welcome patients of Knoxville and Maryville, Tennessee.