Infant/Baby Tongue Tie Support
Have you noticed that your baby has been having trouble latching while feeding? How about difficulty with breastfeeding?
Have you wondered if your baby is having tongue tie or lip tie?
While it may be seeming simple in appearance, the evaluation and treatment of tongue is a very complex and controversial area in Medicine and Dentistry.
With the info below, we hope to make you more knowledgeable about what tongue tie truly is, how to evaluate for SYMPTOMATIC tongue tie, and the proper treatment of tongue tie.
What is a tongue tie?
A tongue tie is the formation of a thin membrane under the baby’s tongue, known as the lingual frenulum.
In some instances, this membrane can restrict the movement of the tongue to where they are unable to move their tongues freely.
What is a lip tie?
An abnormal membrane that forms and attaches on the upper lip/upper gums. Babies with lip ties often have difficulty feeding as they can’t form a proper seal on the breast. As a result, they will often take in excess air when attempting to breastfeed, making them fussy and gassy.
*The photos shown above are just examples of lip and tongue tie. The oral attachments can have different forms and textures in nature.
What are the signs and symptoms of tongue tie?
While in some instances, babies with tongue ties are able to latch onto the breast and breastfeed without difficulty, some may have some issues with feeding. The signs of symptoms to look out for if your infant is possibly having issues with tongue tie/lip tie/cheek ties are below:
How are tongue ties diagnosed?
While it is fairly easy to visualize the oral structure restriction as we become aware of it’s presence, in actuality, tongue and lip ties are considered “tied” if their movement/function is restricted! Therefore, on top of visualizing the physical anatomical membrane, the movement and function of the tongue is assessed as well to evaluate to see if there is any restriction in its movement. Only when the movement and function are decreased, is it truly consider a tongue tie!
What are the treatments for tongue tie?
Tongue tie / lip tie revisions, known as frenectomies, are performed to remove or release the tissue under the tongue. This allows better tongue mobility, and for babies, can help with their ability to breastfeed. In some cases, frenectomies can also aid the prevention of other condition such as speech difficulties, breathing issues, digestive issues and others!
Why do we need to wait for some tongue ties to be released?
While releasing tongue ties are important and can significantly help with improving a tongue’s mobility, that is actually only part of the equation in regards to breastfeeding.
On top of having proper tongue mobility, it is necessary for the baby to have proper neurological development including the sucking reflex, as this will trigger a baby to suck when an object enters their mouth. Otherwise, even with a proper tongue function, the baby will still not be able to breastfeed.
In those sort of instances, if the primitive sucking reflex is not there, it is important to help “train” and “build” that reflex, with the assistance of bodyworkers, such as chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, or other providers that can help to develop that reflex, as it is vital to a baby’s ability to breastfeed.
PRIMITIVE REFLEXES are essential skills for a newborn in the early stage of life. These reflexes must be integrated before childhood to have proper development and functional skills.
ROOTING REFLEX - Helps your baby locate the breast for nursing. By placing an object on the corner of the baby's mouth, the baby's head will naturally turn toward the object.
SUCKING REFLEX- Helps the baby to instinctively suck anything that touches the roof of their mouth.
What normal rooting and sucking reflexes look like
Bodyworkers can be a great resource to help integrate the primitive reflexes.
The following are simple training exercises you can do to help stimuli the reflexes.
Rooting Reflex Training Exercise
Sucking Reflex Training Exercise
What is Molar Bear's approach?
As mentioned above, our evaluation and treatment not only exam the attachment by anatomy, but also by function to look at the tongue's movement ability. We evaluate the neurological function of the baby to ensure they are able to suck and have that specific sucking reflex. If that reflex is missing, then performing a frenectomy may not be beneficial as the baby will still not be able to suck and latch even when the tie is release.
In those cases, we work closely with “bodyworkers” whom we refer to, who include chiropractors, osteopathic physicians or cranio-sacral therapists. This is very important in the “pre-treatment” phase as this helps to develop the proper reflex to allow the baby to suck and latch.
After a frenectomy is performed, we will also refer to the bodyworker for additional treatment, as the tongue will usually require additional assistance to help regain its lost mobility and function. In this way, this will allow the baby to regain its full potential to lead to the best health possible!
Why Molar Bear?
We perform a detailed history to see if there are any signs and symptoms that can be attributed to tongue ties/Lip tie.
On top of evaluation of the anterior and posterior tongue ties, we will also look at other areas that may be “tied” or restricted as well, including cheek and lip ties, for a potential of 7 spots that may be restricted.
We use the Fotona Laser to perform frenectomies to reduce pain and bleeding.
We use natural remedy to prevent re-attachment and promote healing.
We offer a uniqure multi-disciplinary approach to tongue ties, and involve multiple specialists to help improve not only the breastfeeding , but also the overall health. This includes consultation with lactation specialists, chiropractors, and osteopathic physicians.