When I first started nursing my son he had so many latching issues. It seemed like it would take forever to get him to latch. When he would finally latch on, nursing lasted only a few moments because he would unlatch after a few sucks, starting the whole process over again. The latch was never comfortable and almost always painful. I was frustrated, tired and overwhelmed at this new role as a mother. I felt defeated and didn’t understand why we couldn’t get the hang of this breastfeeding thing. But after several support sessions with a lactation specialist and a follow-up with my pediatrician, it turned out my son had a tongue tie which was causing a lot of our issues.
What exactly is a tongue tie?
According to Dr. Christopher Miller at Renew Dental Arts, a tongue tie is actually a pretty common condition with infants. A tongue tie is when a child is born with extra tissues (called frenum) that connect the tongue and the jaw. It’s that piece of skin right under your tongue when you lift up your tongue. If there is extra tissue there, it creates mobility problems with your tongue which inevitably can lead to development function issues if not corrected.
Why is tongue mobility important?
Similar to my situation, Dr. Miller points out that a tongue tie can prevent a chid from creating a strong suction when trying to nurse. Some side effects of this can include gas from ingesting too much air, long feedings, spit up and even pain. As the child gets a older, a lack of tongue development can cause an incorrect bite, ear infections and even obstructive sleep apnea.
How do you fix a tongue tie?
It’s important to get evaluated by a professional to determine whether your child has a tongue tie and whether a frenectomy procedure needs to be performed. Dr. Miller’s office at Renew Dental Arts uses state of the art technology to ensure the best results for his patients. The Solea cold CO2 laser works so fast that the human body can’t even recognize that the procedure is painful, which is ideal especially when working with children! Afterwards there will be some discomfort and typically does not require stitches. (Hooray!) Many times simple over the counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, can be can taken to help ease some of the discomfort. Following the procedure, Dr. Miller will provide his patients with simple exercises and instructions that need to be completed to ensure the tissue does not grow back improperly. Children are also provided with a simple tracking sheet and stickers so they can track on their own!
Having gone through the experience of a tongue tie, I personally understand the frustrations it can cause as a breastfeeding mother. In our situation after my son’s tongue tie was corrected, we were able to have a positive nursing experience and latching was more comfortable for both of us. With just one procedure, my son was able to nurse and I felt a sense of relief that we were able to find a solution to our problem. Considering tongue ties are a common issues, it’s important to know that you aren’t alone! Finding a professional, like Dr. Miller, can help answer your questions and walk you through the process and steps that you need to take in order to ensure the best possible outcome for your family.
About Dr. Miller
Dr. Christopher Miller finalized his educations in a General Practice Residency at Indiana University School of Dentistry in Indianapolis. He is passionate about dentistry and continues to pursue his education receiving far more credits and instruction than is required by the Indiana State Board of Dentistry. Voted as top dentist in central Indiana for over 10 years, Dr. Miller takes the time to listen and understand patient goals and concerns, as well as is extremely kind and gentle. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, goofing around with his four children and traveling to visit family in Fort Wayne and Pennsylvania.
Have questions or interested in scheduling a consultation with Dr. Miller? Contact Renew Dental Arts for more information!
Renew Dental Arts
2205 North Delaware St, Ste. 103, Indianapolis, IN 46205