Lip & Tongue Tie in Brentwood, TN
Breastfeeding is hard work!
The most important thing you can give your new little one is proper nutrition, and you only want the best for your child. It takes time, however, for mom and baby to get used to each other, and it becomes increasingly more worrisome when your baby has difficulties learning to latch properly.
When this happens, it can be very frustrating and stressful for a new mother. If you’re consulting with your pediatrician or lactation specialist with little to no success, did you know that your dentist might be able to help?
At Sullivan Dental Partners, we provide comprehensive dental care that includes addressing the unique problems of breastfeeding moms. If you are worried because your infant is having trouble with latching or you experience pain when nursing, we may be able to help.
When we hear that a new mom is having difficulty breastfeeding, one of the first things we check is the baby’s frenulum. This is a thin band of tissue that exists between the upper lip and the gum and also between the tongue and bottom of the mouth.
A very tight frenulum, or “tongue tie,” can restrict your baby’s ability to nurse, causing stress for both of you as he or she struggles to latch. Dr. Rick can provide relief for both you and baby with a simple procedure called a frenectomy.
How a Tongue Tie Affects You and Your Baby
The restricted movement of a tongue-tie makes breastfeeding difficult because your infant’s tongue needs to be in a good position to nurse. If their tongue is restricted and can’t get past the gum, it can’t rest under the nipple to help form a good suction.
A tongue-tie can affect your baby’s ability to nurse successfully, but a severe lip or tongue-tie may even make it difficult for your child to latch onto a pacifier or bottle. Babies with a restrictive frenulum often struggle to receive proper nutrition. A tight frenulum in the mouth can also impact speech development or lead to orthodontic or, digestive issues, and other problems.
Since the tongue-tie affects your baby’s ability to latch, he or she may increase suction, which can lead to serious nipple pain or damage. In some cases, your baby may “chew” instead of suckling to compensate for the restriction. This, in turn, causes pain for you and inefficient milk flow for baby. If your baby has a tongue-tie, you may also experience complications due to poor latch, such as blocked ducts, thrush, and mastitis.
Performing a Frenectomy
It can be a little scary to think of your infant having any kind of procedure, but a frenectomy is actually very easy and comfortable for babies. Dr. Rick uses a medical grade laser to do frenectomies for babies and children. The procedure is quick and can be done right here in our Nashville dental office. A frenectomy results in little to no discomfort for your child.
Dr. Rick is happy to be able to offer frenectomies to children as well as adults who need it. But he especially loves being able to support breastfeeding success for moms and their babies. He finds it very rewarding to be able to help a mother and hear her immediate feedback on how this procedure has changed her baby’s ability to nurse.
Meet Richard Hugh Sullivan, V
Meet Richard Hugh Sullivan, V or Hugh as he is called. Hugh is Dr. Sully’s son and Dr. Rick’s grandson and namesake. When Hugh was born, like a lot of newborns, he had trouble nursing. Well, it turns out that Hugh was not only tongue-tied but also had a really strong maxillary frenum that was affecting the way he latched onto the breast.
After confirmation from Hugh’s pediatrician and the lactation consultant, Hugh was sent straight to our office to see Dr. Rick. You never think it will happen to your own family, but sure enough, it is what he needed.
At our office, we utilize a water laser to release the tongue and the frenum. By using a water laser, the tissue is cooled, and post-op is relatively easy on babies. The benefit of the laser is not only speed but also only results in minimal bleeding.
At just 5 days old, Hugh got his tongue released and his maxillary frenum released. It took all of about 5 minutes, most of which was the time allowed for the topical numbing to soak in. Hugh’s mom felt immediate relief and now Hugh has a much easier time getting a latch. If you or someone you know is having trouble nursing make sure to take a look at the babies tongue and frenums. A quick visit to Dr. Rick could make a world of difference for momma and the baby!
Please Call to Learn More
If you’re experiencing difficulties breastfeeding, please call our Nashville dental office. Dr. Rick will be happy to determine if the problem can be resolved with a safe and effective frenectomy.