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5749 Maxtown Rd, STE. B
Westerville, OH 43082
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Tongue-Tie & Lip-Tie Releases and Revisions

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What is a tongue-tie?

A tongue-tie is a restriction of the lingual frenum (little tissue connection under the tongue). This physical restriction can limit normal function that causes or contributes to a range of functional issues. Current research suggests that tongue restrictions occur in about 20-25% of babies.

What is a lip-tie?

If your infant has a tongue-tie, it’s common to have a lip restriction as well. The lip frenum is the tissue connection between the lips and the upper gums. It is more common on the top arch and lip. For infants, a restrictive and tethered lip that has difficulty flanging out or sealing in milk may contribute to gassiness and fussiness.

A restrictive tongue or lip can lead to a variety of issues including infant nursing, dental, orthodontic, eating, speech, sleep and breathing problems. These issues may persist into adolescence and adulthood which could limit the quality of life including speech articulation, neck tension pain, and quality sleep.

Functional issues for an infant that
 a tongue- or lip-tie may contribute to:

Shallow or poor latch at breast or bottle

Gumming or chewing your nipple when nursing

Clicking or smacking noises when eating

Pacifier falls out easily, doesn’t like, won’t stay in

Slides or pops/off the nipple

Milk dribbles out of mouth when nursing/bottle

Colic symptoms/cries a lot

Short sleeping requiring feedings every 1-2 hours

Reflux symptoms

Snoring, noisy breathing or mouth breathing

Falls asleep while eating

Feels like a full-time job just to feed baby

Spits up often

Nose congested often

Gagging, choking, coughing when eating

Baby is frustrated at the breast or bottle

Gassy (toots a lot)/Fussy often

Frequent hiccups

Poor weight gain

Frequent eating

Lip curls under when nursing or taking bottle

Very long eating time per feeding session

Signs and symptoms for a Mother that
a tongue- and lip-tie may contribute to:

Creased, flattened or blanched nipples

Poor or incomplete breast drainage

Lipstick shaped nipples

Infected and/or bleeding nipples or breasts

Blistered or cut nipples

Plugged ducts/engorgement/mastitis

Using nipple shield

Nipple thrush

Painful initial latching

Baby prefers one side over other

Pain during nursing 

Dr. Joel’s Personal Story:

Dr. Joel and his wife found out their infant son had a tongue- and lip-tie soon after delivery. The wonderful hospital lactation consultants helped with the initial struggle, and along the journey. After leaving the hospital, Dr. Joel released his son’s lip and tongue restrictions with a laser. The combination of laser frenectomies, post-release stretches and exercises, and specialized lactation support has led to a successful breast-feeding relationship. We understand the nursing dyad between mother and infant can be challenging. It takes a team!

The LightScalpel CO2 laser:

Dr. Joel, a board-certified pediatric dentist, uses the very precise LightScalpel CO2 laser for frenectomies. The CO2 laser is safe, quick, and displays immediate results. There is often minimal to no bleeding, and is done without stitches. The LightScalpel CO2 laser precisely vaporizes and seals blood vessels simultaneously. On infants, the procedure usually takes a few seconds. It’s so efficient that sedation is not needed.

How the process works?

• An exam before and after potential releases with an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is critical for success. IBCLCs provide targeted functional exercises and other specific instruction based on the baby’s assessment.

• Dr. Joel provides a functional exam after listening to your story and goals.

• If a physical restriction of a tongue- and/or lip-tie is noted with functional issues, then the restrictions may be released, if indicated.

• A follow-up exam with an IBCLC and/or bodyworker is highly recommended. Treatment of a tongue-tie does not stop and end with a frenectomy. It’s important to understand that after a release, drastic improvement isn’t always instantaneous. Your infant may be treated by a skilled bodyworker who can help address muscular and skeletal issues that might have resulted from the birthing process or tongue-tie. Bodyworkers use gentle manipulation to help correct musculoskeletal issues. A bodyworker may include a Craniosacral therapist, Chiropractor, Osteopathic Pediatrician, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, or massage therapist.

• Dr. Joel provides a complimentary 1-week follow-up exam to check healing and review stretches to minimize risk of re-attachment and contractional healing. A deeper stretch may be provided.

What to expect on the day of...

Home care information

how-to Stretching video