Lip & Tongue-Tie Treatment – Tulsa, OK

Ensure a Great Start for Your Child

A lip and tongue tie have the same root cause: a small band of tissue connecting the lip or tongue to the mouth is too short or dense, which hampers movement. When the tongue or lip doesn’t have its full range of motion, this can make eating, speaking, and even breathing normally very uncomfortable or borderline impossible. It’s especially a big concern for breastfeeding mothers as it can prevent the baby from properly latching and creating a steady flow of milk. Our doctors are very familiar with both of these conditions. Not only can they diagnose them, but they can also fix them in a matter of minutes using a laser frenectomy. Keep reading to learn more about lip/tongue-tie treatment at our Tulsa, OK specialty dental office or give us a call to schedule an appointment!

Why Choose Healthy Sleep Tulsa for Lip & Tongue-Tie Treatment?

  • Prioritizes Patient Comfort
  • Advanced Dental Technology for Optimal Results
  • Highly Experienced Staff

How Do Lip and Tongue Ties Develop?

a child patient opening mouth before undergoing lip/tongue-tie treatment

If you check your little one’s mouth, you’ll notice a small band of tissue underneath their tongue and one under their upper lip. These are known as frenula and are meant to help with proper oral functions. That said, if their tongue or lip frenulum becomes excessively thick, this can have the opposite effect and limit their oral movements. Lip and tongue ties are typically diagnosed and addressed in infants, but untreated lip and tongue ties can even create problems for adults.

Symptoms of Lip & Tongue Tie

Dentist treating child following lip and tongue tie release

Typically, the symptoms of a lip/tongue tie become evident very early, as they are present at birth. For an infant, these include:

  • Inability to latch to a bottle or nipple while feeding
  • Difficulty creating a steady flow of milk or formula
  • Becoming fussy or gassy during feedings
  • Biting or pulling on the nipple
  • Short, truncated feedings or extended ones that take hours

If a lip/tongue tie is missed early, an older child may develop speech problems, orthodontic issues (specifically a large gap between the two front teeth), and difficulty chewing hard foods (like apples).

Why Is It Important to Treat Lip & Tongue Ties?

a child smiling comfortably after undergoing lip/tongue-tie treatment

Not every lip and tongue tie needs to be fixed, as mild conditions can correct themselves as a child develops. It’s mostly the moderate to severe ties that will need to be treated, as they won’t resolve themselves and can lead to a variety of issues. Here are several indications that a lip or tongue tie may require treatment:

  • Difficulty eating, chewing, and/or swallowing
  • Trouble closing the mouth completely or properly
  • A large gap between the top or bottom front teeth
  • Speech impediments, such as a severe lisp
  • For infants, difficulty breastfeeding

If you’re worried that your child’s lip or tongue tie can become problematic, feel free to bring them in for an examination. Our team can assess their mouth and determine if a frenectomy is their best option.

Frenectomy: Lip & Tongue-Tie Treatment

a doctor high-fiving a child patient after lip/tongue-tie treatment

When you bring your child to see our doctors, they will give them a brief examination to determine if they have a lip or tongue tie. If they do, they can quickly remove the excess tissue using a laser called the LightScalpel.

This procedure is called a frenectomy, and with a laser, it is extremely precise, fast, and comfortable. It can normally be completed in a matter of minutes, and even babies only need a small amount of topical local anesthetic to remain comfortable (and sometimes it’s not necessary at all).

After the procedure, the baby should be able to feed immediately, and the parent will be given a simple program of stretches that will ensure the tissue heals properly. Then, a week or so later, the child will return to our doctors for a quick follow-up.

Lip and Tongue Tie FAQs

Close-up of baby peacefully breastfeeding

If you suspect that your child has a lip or tongue tie, the Healthy Sleep Tulsa team is ready to provide compassionate and effective treatment via a frenectomy. Before you book an appointment, however, you may want to learn more about the road ahead. To help you in your mission to gather information, we have put together the following list of lip and tongue tie FAQs, along with succinct and easy-to-understand answers. If your specific questions are not included here, give us a call. We will be happy to speak with you!

Does a Frenectomy Hurt?

You do not have to worry about your child’s procedure causing severe pain. We use a laser to perform frenectomies, so the surgery is quick and comfortable. In many cases, we do not even have to use local anesthetic. The laser even cauterizes the tissue that it severs, so there is very little bleeding.

After the procedure, your child may be a bit fussy and uncomfortable. However, the recovery process is usually easy. Our team will give you instructions to make the entire experience as stress-free as possible for both you and your little one.

Is My Child Old Enough to Get Lip or Tongue Tie Treatment?

We understand that many parents are concerned about their infant going through surgery, even if the procedure is as minor as a frenectomy. However, there is no minimum age for this treatment; it can be performed as soon as a few days after birth.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that the rewards of a frenectomy outweigh the risks. This procedure can help your child to successfully breastfeed and prevent oral health problems down the line.

How Long Does a Frenectomy Take?

The frenectomy procedure is short; it usually takes just a few minutes. However, if your child’s frenulum is especially thick, or they require treatment for both lip and tongue tie, the appointment may be a bit longer. During your consultation, we can discuss the procedure’s details so you know exactly what to expect on the day of the surgery.

What Could Happen If My Child Doesn’t Get Treatment for a Lip or Tongue Tie?

Without treatment for a lip or tongue tie, your child could face a number of consequences:

  • They may find it difficult to breastfeed or bottle feed and could gain weight slowly as a result.
  • As your child grows, they may experience speech difficulties and aversions to certain types of food.
  • A tongue tie can lead to poor tongue positioning, which may contribute to sleep disordered breathing and other problematic issues.
  • An untreated lip or tongue tie can cause problems into adulthood, including a heightened risk of poor dental health.