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Tongue Tie Procedure Helps Babies Nurse

"Hi I'm Brittany, I'm one of Dr. Reese's assistants here at Indianapolis Dentistry.

I have Hadley here with me. She is 7 weeks old. We did a frenuloplasty and a tongue tie procedure two weeks ago. What Dr. Reese did was to take a look at her the day before and noticed that her tongue was tied and also her lip was pretty far down on her gum line.

Dr. Reese recommended that since we were doing the tongue tie that we go ahead and do the lip tie as well. We did that on a Thursday.

We see a lot of patients that we do the procedures on where the mom will hold the baby and then we have the assistants help out with everything else.

It's a very effective procedure for breastfeeding. There are moms who have trouble with babies latching on or even pain sometimes with breastfeeding and they don't know it, but tongue ties or lip ties can be the problem. They don't talk about it in classes or they don't mention it in the lactation department. Pediatricians might mention it to get it clipped there at the office, but the laser (I feel like) is a lot better procedure. There is:

  • less bleeding
  • faster healing time
  • better overall for the baby

We do see a lot of patients. The youngest we've seen is a 2-week old and we've even seen a 2-year old. Obviously the babies are easier to work with, but we do see a lot of babies and I definitely do recommend it for breastfeeding moms to definitely take a look at it after the baby is born and find out if they have a lip or tongue tie. If you don't know what it is, you can always have the nurses or your pediatrician check it in the hospital or at their follow-up appointment."

Indianapolis Pediatric Tongue Tie Frenuloplasty

Babies as young as one week old can have their tongue ties treated by Dr. Reese, a dentist who practices oral surgery in Indianapolis. Photo by Janelle Aby, MD; Stanford School of Medicine

Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) happens when the string of tissue under your baby's tongue (frenulum) is too short. This occurs in approximately 4% of newborns.

The in-office procedure is safe and pain-free for the baby. The area is numbed and a small incision is made to perform the frenuloplasty.

Dr. Reese understands the benefits of breast feeding and that's why he has helped hundreds of children get better latches through frenuloplasty.

Not sure if your baby has a tongue tie or not? Find out what a tongue tie looks like. Still not sure? Call for an appointment with Dr. Reese.

Dr. Reese is a general dentist in the Indianapolis area who specializes in helping mother's with their babies in a calm, soothing environment.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful way of feeding that is beneficial for both mom and baby. Breast milk contains antibodies, disease-fighting cells, that aid in protection against illnesses, germs, and even SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Breast feeding has also been proven to lower the risk of various health problems including:Benefits of Breastfeeding

  • Ear Infections
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Stomach Viruses
  • Childhood Leukemia
  • Asthma
  • Obesity

In moms, breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.

Breastfeeding also decreases the risk of allergies as well as dental caries. The act of breastfeeding aids in the overall facial development and appropriate development of the jaw, teeth, and speech. This results in fewer speech problems and malocclusion, the misalignment of teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, complementary foods and breastfeeding until 12 months of life, and continuing for as long as mother and baby desire.

What Does A Tongue-Tie Look Like?

The common characteristics of a tongue-tie are a heart-shaped tongue, clicking while feeding from a bottle or breastfeeding. Nursing mothers may experience sore nipples and the baby may be gaining weight poorly. Physically you will see that the tongue looks like a heart and when you run your finger under the tongue, your finger will 'catch' on the frenulum. A lactation consultant might recommend visiting a dentist to confirm a diagnosis of a tongue-tie and to see if revision is recommended. Ankyloglossia is the medical term for a tongue-tie and a frenuloplasty is a procedure to repair ankyloglossia. Dr. Reese regularly performs frenectomies for babies (and adults). Below are some images of what a tongue-tie typically looks like:

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Akyloglossia is commonly known as being tongue-tied. The major problem tongue-tied babies experience is difficulty in breast feeding. Due to the tightened lingual frenulum, the tongue has less mobility and freedom to move resulting in breast feeding difficulties.

What is Ankyloglossia?

What is Ankyloglossia?


"Ankyloglossia" sounds like some sort of complex molecule or compound. But really, it's just the medical term for a tongue-tie. While being tongue-tied does not necessarily seem like it would be a big deal, a child born with ankyloglossia can later develop problems with speech, feeding, and oral hygiene. These are three major components of an individual's daily routine that could be negatively affected due to a "simple" tongue-tie. As the baby matures and develops, an untreated tongue-tie could even result in deformities that hamper the progression of infantile to toddler - and eventually adult - eating styles.

Around four percent of newborns are born with ankyloglossia, ranging from mild cases to complete immobility of the tongue. Tongue-ties occur when the membrane that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, the lingual frenulum, is unusually shortened and thickened to prevent free movement of the tongue. In some extreme cases, the lingual frenulum can literally anchor the tongue to the floor of the mouth.

At this point, you are probably wondering what can be done to treat ankyloglossia. Although there are very few doctors who offer treatments in their office, the procedure is actually quite simple and safe! Dr. Reese is able to perform a complete frenotomy, "the incision and relocation of the frenal attachment", in one visit, either by modern laser techniques or traditional scalpel incision. Call 317-882-0228 today to make a consultation or appointment if you believe frenotomy is the right choice for your baby.