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Tongue Tie Surgery Options for Infants: Understanding Your Choices

Updated: Oct 15, 2023


The treatment of tongue tie, medically known as ankyloglossia, has been a subject of intense debate within the medical community. While there is consensus on its effects, opinions diverge on the necessity of surgical intervention. This diversity of thought is mirrored among various professionals including dentists, lactation consultants, speech-language pathologists, surgeons, and general practitioners.



Tonge Tie Surgery Option #1: Snipping

Tongue Tie in infants, teens & adults

The practice of "snipping" dates back to midwives in 1697, who used this method to free the tongues of infants facing feeding difficulties. In recent times, eminent pediatric surgeons and lactation consultants advocate for the involvement of trained professionals such as dentists, midwives, nurses, and lactation consultants in employing this simple and effective technique to release a tight frenulum that impedes breastfeeding in infants.


Reports suggest that sucking improves immediately post-procedure, causing minimal bleeding or discomfort for the baby. This not only enhances the efficiency of latching but also alleviates the significant pain often experienced by mothers during breastfeeding attempts. Importantly, this process does not require anesthesia or analgesics. The tight frenulum is released with scissors, with immediate pressure applied to minimize bleeding.


Pros and Cons of Snipping

For cases primarily focused on improving breastfeeding, snipping the tie in infancy emerges as a compelling solution. It requires no anesthesia, is cost-effective, involves minimal discomfort for the infant, results in negligible bleeding, and leads to immediate improvements in feeding.



Tongue Tie Surgery Option #2: Laser Surgery - A Modern Alternative

Dental Laser used for tongue tie surgery

Laser surgery presents a relatively new and promising option for infants, older children, and adults tongue tie. This procedure does not necessitate general anesthesia, although an analgesic gel may be applied. While some cooperation from the patient is required to remain still during the brief 2 to 3-minute procedure, the benefits are significant. Virtually bloodless and painless, laser surgery poses no risk of infection, and the healing period can be as short as 2 hours.


It is advised to have this procedure performed by a specialist in laser dentistry familiar with tongue tie revision. Laser surgery can be performed as an outpatient service with a local anesthetic, making it an economical and safe option, particularly for revising mild tongue ties.


While most cases of tongue tie can be addressed effectively in a single procedure, some severe cases may require more than one session to achieve complete release. Although this is uncommon, it is a known scenario, and a subsequent operation can lead to a successful outcome.


The Hesitancy Towards Surgery

However, there is a prevailing reluctance to recommend surgery, leading to prolonged struggles for children attempting to reach their full verbal potential. It is a common occurrence that untreated tongue ties in infancy may necessitate correction later in the child's life.



Conclusion

By exploring these surgical options for tongue tie treatment, parents and caregivers can make informed decisions for infants. Consulting with a specialized practitioner ensures the best possible results for this breakthrough procedure.

For further information or to schedule a consultation, please contact Oasis Dental at 905-876-2747.


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