There are many benefits to breastfeeding a child however mothers and infants may experience a variety of difficulties mastering this. Can you shed some light on how a pediatric dentist can potentially help a mother who is having difficulties with breastfeeding?
We always encourage the mothers should work with their pediatrician, lactation consultant and/or chiropractor with infant training if they are having recurring problems with breastfeeding. In many situations, mother’s come to us looking for help and complain their breastfeeding sessions are extremely painful, their nipples are damaged or they’ve developed mastitis, their baby does not stay latched to the breast or is falling asleep easily. In many cases They may describe that the baby is a noisy eater and has excessive gas or reflux and is not gaining weight. When many of these issues are described we examine baby for a tongue tie, lip-tie or both. There are many factors that go into this treatment decision but many times we will recommend a frenectomy or release of this tight tissue under the tongue or upper lip that is restricting movement. It is actually a simple and safe procedure using a soft tissue laser and the benefit of this is that no General Anesthesia is required and there is less bleeding and pain involved.
If a tongue or lip tie is not treated in infancy can they have it treated as an adolescent or adult?
Absolutely. What we’d look for in older patients are speech problems or difficulties with speech (because just a delay could get some professionals vocal as they consider most “delays” to be normal as they assume catch up will happen) as a result of a tongue tie, in which case we often work in conjunction with a speech pathologist or potential gapping or cosmetic concerns of the upper front teeth as a result of a lip tie. We also want to make sure the ties aren’t interfering with how the child can keep the teeth clean so we’ll look at overall hygiene and plaque levels. If a child has orthodontic needs, their orthodontist will evaluate the need for and may recommend a frenectomy as part of their orthodontic plan.