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Frenectomies: Lip & Tongue Ties

New Patient Lip and Tongue Tie Registration

Several years ago, Dr. Tara began using the latest laser technology to release lip and tongue ties (frenectomies) as a service to the Springfield, Missouri area and surrounding communities in Southwest Missouri. Historically, doctors used scissors or a scalpel to release a lip or tongue tie because this was the only option.  However, technology has improved significantly. Dr. Tara uses a laser allowing for immediate release of the tissue along with minimal discomfort or recovery. Dr. Tara can do this procedure in office and often the same day as the New Patient Exam. Over the past few years, she has done over 1000 frenectomies.

What is a lip or tongue tie?

A tight upper lip frenulum attachment, or lip tie, may make full lip flanging impossible. It can appear as a tight, tense upper lip during nursing and can result in a shallow latch during breastfeeding. Additionally, a tight upper lip can trap milk between the teeth and the lip, resulting in constant contact of the milk to the front teeth. This can result in decalcification and dental decay when the milk is not cleaned off these areas. This same issue can occur with bottle feeding.

A tight lower tongue frenulum attachment, or tongue tie, may restrict the mobility of the tongue and appear as acupping or heart shaped tongue when the tongue is elevated. This can result in an inability to get the tongue under the nipple to create a suction to draw out milk. Long term a tongue tied can result in speech problems and/or issues later with transferring food around the mouth for chewing.

Do I need a referral?

No, you do not need a referral to schedule a complimentary exam. During that time, Dr. Tara will answer any and all questions about the procedure after doing an exam. Dr. Tara works alongside pediatricians, lactation consultants along with speech therapists to ensure that the patient and their family gets the best possible care.

Symptoms of a Lip Tie or Tongue Tie could include:

  • 1. Significant Problems with Breastfeeding
  • 2. Speech problems, delays or lips
  • 3. Choking, gagging or vomiting
  • 4. Heart Shaped Tongue
  • 5. Difficulty Swallowing
  • 6. Deterioration in Speech

What can you expect during the actual procedures?

Addressing a tongue or lip tie for an infant is simple. The procedure itself takes only a few minutes. Dr. Tara uses a laser that cuts and seals the tissue resulting in very little or no bleeding. The laser procedures takes slightly longer than a clipping procedure but is Dr. Tara’s preferred method due to the minimal bleeding and the lower probability of it healing back together. The baby is swaddled and stabilized by Dr. Tara’s assistant to minimize movement during the procedure. Immediately after the procedure, mom is encouraged to nurse, if still breastfeeding. It is common for the baby to fuss during the procedure but generally quickly settles down when they are out of the swaddler.

Usually there is a small white patch at the revision site that develops within the first 24-48 hours, which is normal. In about two weeks, that tissue will take on its normal appearance and color.