In our previous blog article, we opened the topic of tongue-tie and lip ties. Here at Dentistry for Children, our dentist, Dr. Troy King is the master of the laser surgery that corrects the tongue tie. Among some of his young tongue tied patients, he has attained Jedi Knight status because he can change their lives with this modern treatment and the “force” of his light saber, the 21st century surgical laser.
With skilled and tiny strokes, his laser can free a baby and young mother from the bondage of difficulties in breast-feeding.
With this surgery, he can free a toddler to learn to pronounce words more clearly.
With his talented laser scapel, he can free a young child from the dark-side of a life-time of communication difficulties. He can prevent the onslaught of low self-esteem.
Remember, pain and bleeding are kept at a minimum. See why babies and children tolerate this surgery well in our previous blog, Part I.
There are many myths about lip and tongue ties, but below are some facts. We leave it up to you to match the myths you hear about tongue tie with the following truths:
1. A baby with a tongue tie just might be able to stick out his tongue. This ability depends on the baby’s case. The frenum is the piece of tissue that holds the tongue down and prevents it from properly moving for chewing or speaking.
It can be attached closer to the back of the tongue and named a posterior frenum or frenulum. Alternatively, it is attached close to the front of the tongue, and named an anterior frenum. It is this tie of skin that will be dematerialized by the light scalpel in the pediatric dentist’s brief surgical procedure. See this surgery performed in a video at a reliable online resource.
2. The anterior tongue ties can cause the heart-shaped tongue. We mentioned last week in Part I of our coverage. However, not all tongue ties cause this shape in a tongue. Some tongues appear rounded or squared off. This is especially true of the posterior tie.
Experts tell us, “The tie itself can vary from a thin elastic membrane to a thickened, white non-elastic tissue.”
They also state, “The tie or frenum may extend to the lingual margin causing notching, or spread along the floor of the mouth in a fan shape reaching towards the incisors and causing discomfort or actual pain on activity.”
3. Tongue and lip ties are strong, comparable to the web between your thumb and index finger. It is not going to shrink up, stretch open or suddenly disintegrate with time.
If your baby, toddler or child has one, do not hesitate to call Dentistry for Children for an examination. Today’s cure for these is a simple surgical procedure, and the sooner it is done, the better it is for the child and the parent.
4. The misdiagnosis of a “short tongue” is often given to children who simply have a posterior tie.
5. An older baby or toddler might exhibit difficulty in swallowing solid food. What is happening is that the tongue cannot move the food the back of the mouth. Children can actually choke.
Facing The Dark Side: The Tongue Tie and your Older Child.
If a child goes undiagnosed or for some reason is not given the simple surgery for tongue tie, dental problems will worsen.
Tongue Difficulties for the Older Child
A. Teeth might grow in crooked and crowded. For example, the front bottom teeth might tilt inwards toward the throat.
B. The child will face a lifetime of oral hygiene difficulties, including:
His or her lip ties might spread push the two front teeth apart. So, parents compensate by investing in expensive orthodontics.
Then when the braces are removed, the lip ties cause the teeth to spread apart again. The pockets on either side of a lip tie can become breeding grounds for tooth decay.
C. Not only will the child with an untreated tongue tie have persistent deterioration of his or her speech, but an unfortunate tendency to dribble and drool. They know, they sound different and this lowers their self-esteem. Often the lower esteem causes resentment and behavior problems for parents and classmates.
D. As they grow up, these children will never enjoy licking an ice cream cone or going out to dinner with a friend, or kissing their date.
E. As they age, such children are destined to suffer both in their personal and professional life.
F. Ugly dental problems will grow larger, even as these children become hyper-sensitive about their appearance. Emotional factors and stress serve to complicate relationships. They will live on the dark side of social acceptance.
A Small Case Study One Young Boy’s Tongue Tie Story
In a popular video, a young boy attempts to say the word “lolly-pop,” which is almost unintelligible due to a severe anterior tongue tie. The surgery is performed with a laser, and in his particular case, local anesthesia and a light relaxation medication. He and the doctor work together, like knightly comrades in arms.
As doctor lasers away the offending frenum or frenelum, he pauses and stops a few times for the boy to get his bearings and catch his breath.
Then, the tough skin is gone, dematerialized by the laser. Within moments of the tongue tie release, the young boy clearly pronounces the word…clearly…crisply. “Lolly-pop.”
As he hears himself speak, his expression of astonishment and joy is priceless. His bright smile is contagious.
We admit that pediatric dentists, such As Dr. Troy King might not be Jedi Knights, but don’t try to convince any of his 7 or 8-year-old patients of that!
Somewhere deep in their minds, they know the value of the brief operation, and the dark future they have escaped.