Myths and Facts About Tongue-Ties

facts about tongue ties

We have compiled a list of widely spread myths about tongue-ties, and their corresponding facts.

Myth #1: Tongue-ties will correct themselves. The lingual frenulum, or tongue-tied tongue, will stretch or tear without treatment or surgical intervention.

Fact: Often ties do not stretch or tear and will cause interference when attempting to achieve a good secure latch to the mother’s breast or bottle nipple.

Myth #2: The upper lip frenulum attachment, or upper lip tie, has nothing to do with feeding; it is not preventing your infant from achieving a good secure latch.

Fact: When the upper lip fails to elevate or flange upward adequately, it may interfere with the infant being able to maintain a good, secure latch.

Myth #3: When there is a diagnosis of a lip-tie and/or tongue tie, you need to wait to revise the ties until your infant is at least one or two years of age.

Fact: Infants who present with tethered oral tissues can, and should, be treated as early as they are born. Waiting does nothing to improve the latch, and can lead to more complex problems.

Myth #4: Revising tethered oral tissue requires and operating room and general anesthesia.

Fact: The procedure to correct these lip and tongue ties can be completed safely, quickly, and easily in a medical or dental office. The procedure takes only seconds.

Myth #5: Release or revision of the lingual attachment is dangerous due to bleeding or cutting nerves or glands.

Fact: The release or revision of the lingual frenulum is a very safe, simple, and quick surgical procedure easily completed in an outpatient setting. Bleeding or damage to other oral structures when performed by a properly trained surgeon is not a concern.

Myth #6: Post-surgical exercises are too difficult and stressful for parents.

Fact: When done correctly, the post-surgical wound management procedures are quick and relatively easy to accomplish.

How can tongue ties be revised?

Tongue-ties are released surgically in one of two ways:

Snipping (scissor procedure)

  • The scissor procedure is faster than the laser procedure.
  • Parents are allowed to be in the room during the scissor procedure. When using laser, they cannot accompany the baby to the treatment room due to laser safety guidelines that should be followed.
  • The scissor procedure often needs injected local anesthetic to control pain and bleeding. The laser procedure has a delayed onset of pain, but no issues during the procedure itself.
  • Bleeding can limit visualization and force under-correction.

Laser Surgery

  • Suitable for newborns, older children, and adults.
  • No general anesthetic is used, but an analgesic gel may be applied.
  • The procedure is very quick, and takes only 2 to 3 minutes to perform.
  • There is virtually no bleeding, no pain, no risk of infection, and the healing period can be as short as 2 hours.
  • It is best to have this procedure performed by a specialist in the area of laser dentistry who is familiar with tongue-tie revision.
  • Lasers offer a precision that can’t be matched by a scissor revision.
  • Laser procedures offer a lesser chance of regrowth or reattachment.

After surgery, massages and stretches must be done firmly, with a clean finger, twice a day for about 4-6 weeks. Continuous massage and stimulation may help prevent re-attachment. These exercises will be given to you by your doctor or speech therapist after the procedure has been done.

Wondering if your child is suffering from a tongue-tie? Download our free checklist! If you check two or more symptoms, please give us a call to schedule an evaluation with a member of our Speech team. We would love to help!

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