Tongue tie and lip tie laser surgery is performed by Dr. Paul Rubin and Dr. David Sentelle, accredited laser dentistry surgeons, to release tongue tie and/or lip tie, which results in an improvement in your baby’s ability to breastfeed.Tongue tie and lip tie laser surgery is one of the more popular articles on our Pediatric Dental Topics page.
Dr. Rubin is one of few pediatric dental surgeons in the area to acquire a laser capable of performing tongue tie release and lip tie release quickly, safely and effectively.
What is Tongue Tie and Lip Tie?
Tongue tie is the non-medical term for a common congenital condition that limits the use of the tongue, called ankyloglossia. A short, tight band of tissue (frenulum) tethers the tongue’s tip to the mouth floor. Ankyloglossia can affect how a child speaks and eats, as well as interfere with breastfeeding.
Lip tie is a similar congenital condition in which the tissue that tethers the upper lip to the upper gum is overly large or tight. Lip tie most often occurs in conjunction with tongue tie rather than on its own. Both conditions can cause ongoing health problems in infants and children due to the restriction of movement of the tongue or lip.
Potential problems from tongue tie and lip tie include:
- Difficulty with breastfeeding
- Early childhood caries (dental decay) and spacing problems
- Digestive issues
- Speech and airway interference
Tongue tie and lip tie laser surgery can correct these problems through a relatively simple procedure which Dr. Rubin can perform in office.
Treating Tongue Tie and Lip Tie in Infants and Children
A frenectomy is a common surgical procedure during which the frenulum, the band of tissue involved in tongue tie and/or lip tie, is released, allowing for better range of motion. Utilizing a soft tissue laser, Dr. Rubin can alleviate problems caused by tongue tie and lip tie by performing a laser frenectomy.
Rather than cutting the restrictive tissue, which can be painful with more intensive aftercare, the laser essentially vaporizes the tissue, completely eliminating the problematic condition. The state-of-the-art soft tissue laser offered by Dr. Rubin cauterizes and sterilizes any tissue it comes in contact with. Laser tongue tie or lip tie surgery does not require a general anesthetic and can be performed in the comfortable, kid-friendly offices of Frisco Kids Dentistry while your child is awake.
Symptoms of Tongue Tie (Ankyloglossia)
Symptoms of ankyloglossia include difficulty sticking the tongue out past the lower front teeth or lifting it up to the upper teeth, however many people present no noticeable symptoms. In more obvious cases of tongue tie, the baby’s tongue will appear heart-shaped at the tip due to the tight tethering of the frenulum. Some cases of tongue tie are mild and do not require treatment while others can create various physical complications.
The two basic types of tongue tie are:
- Anterior tongue tie: Includes 3 classes of tongue tie in which the band of connective tissue is at or near the tip of the tongue and can be seen when the mouth is open and tongue raised
- Posterior tongue tie (class 4): Condition in which the band of connective tissue is unable to be seen due to being set back under the tongue (submucosal)
Other complications from tongue tie can include:
- Inability to widely open the mouth
- Pain or clicking in jaw
- Difficulty speaking clearly (particularly certain sounds such as “d”, “l”, “s”, “t”, and “th”)
- Dental health problems, such as inflamed gums (gingivitis)
- Lower jaw protrusion (inferior prognathism)
The cause of tongue tie is unknown however, certain genetic factors may play a role. If the condition does not resolve on its own, tongue tie surgery is typically recommended as treatment.
If you feel like your infant or child is being affected by a tongue tie or lip tie and would like to arrange a pediatric dental consultation with a pediatric dentist at Frisco Kid’s Dentistry, please submit an online appointment request or call our office at 214-618-5200.