Lip/Tongue-Tie
Solutions For Infants, Children, & Adults

Infant patient with lip/tongue-tie smiles in the waiting area

Frenectomy
Treatment for
Common Issues

Infant patient smiling during an examination by Dr. Hamlin

Infants

  • Difficulty latching during breastfeeding
  • Trouble sucking and swallowing

Children

  • Speech and eating difficulties
  • Trouble sleeping

Adults

  • TMJ, migraine, head & neck pain
  • Sleep, snoring, and sinus issues
Mom holds infant patient in the waiting area while an assistant examines her

Breastfeeding
Concerns

Why does it hurt when I breastfeed my baby?

Many babies can be born with a combination of conditions. Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) and/or lip-tie is/are one of the complications. These conditions can make breastfeeding difficult and painful.

What is a tongue-tie or lip-tie?

When the tissue attaching the tongue to the floor of the mouth during embryonic development does not disappear, the result is a tongue-tie. A lip-tie happens when the upper lip remains attached to the upper gum, making it difficult for a baby to latch.

Close up of a tongue-tieClose-up photo of a lip tieClose-up of tongue tie

Frenectomy
Results

Infant patient during lip/tongue-tie surgery

Helps Infants

Your child needs tongue and lip freedom to effectively latch during breastfeeding. A frenectomy removes a membrane currently limiting unrestrained movement of the tongue and/or lip. Not only could this procedure help your child with breastfeeding, but it will also free up the tongue for better speech and the breakdown of food.

Helps Mothers

Treatment can also help mothers relieve the pain of breastfeeding and regain healthy nipples and breasts, stimulate milk production by adequate stimulation, encourage bonding with her baby, and ensure adequate feeding and growth of the baby.

Post-operative photo taken after a lip tie is correctedPost-operative photo taken immediately after a tongue tie is correctedPost-operative lip tie after one weekPost-operative lip tie photoPost-operative photo taken after a lip tie is corrected

Benefits of Laser Frenectomy Treatment

  • No sedation needed
  • Fast treatment
  • Fast recovery – You can nurse right after treatment
  • Decreased risk for infection
  • Decreased risk of bleeding, swelling, discomfort
Infant patient post-lip/tongue-tie treatment

Post-Treatment
Care

Below are some helpful stretching exercises to ensure increased flexibility and promote newly unrestrained movements.

NOTE: Expect the surgical sites to turn a white, creamy color within a day or so. The color is a reflection of normal healing, not infection.

Photo showing a post-franectomy lip stretch

LIP STRETCH

  1. With clean hands, gently elevate the upper lip while lifting up and towards the back of the mouth, exposing the entire surgical site.‍
  2. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then allow the lip to come down.
  3. Relax and repeat.
Photo showing a post-operative tongue stretch

TONGUE STRETCH

  1. With clean hands, gently place both index fingers under the tongue and lift up.
  2. Allow your fingers to sink down and hold the tongue for 10 seconds. Your fingers should almost completely touch.
  3. Relax and repeat.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What happens if we don’t release the tie and the restriction remains?

We cannot predict exactly what will happen as everyone is different and one’s ability to compensate will vary. Generally the following could potentially happen:

  • Dental issues: Pulling on the attached jaw bone and gums which may affect how the teeth come out/erupt. Can lead to cavities when restricted tongue and lips affect our ability to properly maintain the bolus of food between the teeth and chew.
  • Speech: Restricted tongue and lips affect our ability to pronounce or articulate certain words. R, S, L, Z, D, CH, TH, and SH are commonly affected but other sounds are also difficult. It is possible to not have a tie and have difficulty with speech- functional issues as well.

When should I do my paperwork?

As soon as you receive it electronically. The earlier the better to allow us to prevent any surprises in terms of insurance verification, coverage, and what we need on our end. This also gives us the opportunity to prepare for your visit and discuss any specifics with your referring provider if necessary.

Should I expect immediate results after the tongue/lip tie procedure (frenectomy)?

Not necessarily. You may notice an improvement immediately or may take time to see improved results. This is also why it is referred to as a breastfeeding journey. Everyone’s journey will look a little different and having a team in place that can guide you and potentially expedite the healing process is preferred.

Do I need an IBCLC or any other provider?

Sometimes there may be underlying issues in addition to the lip and tongue that may be restricting movement and limiting function.

It’s strongly recommended that you have the proper team in place. Although, Dr. Hamlin and her team are amazing at what they do, they cannot provide the support and functional development that an IBCLC, Feeding and/or Nutritional therapist, Myofunctional Therapist, Craniosacral Therapist, Chiropractor or other body worker, Speech Therapist, Physical or Occupational Therapist can. Dr. Hamlin will most likely speak with your team or provider to discuss findings and recommendations for proper timing of release.

Can I feed my child right before the procedure?

Please don’t. We prefer that you feed your child immediately AFTER the procedure. Feeding before just increases the chance for spitting up during the procedure and possible aspiration of regurgitated milk.

Can I watch my infant’s tongue tie release procedure?
Can I be in the operatory while it is taking place?

No. We have created a nice home-like, lounge for you to relax while we complete the procedure. Your baby will not be away from you for very long. Please use this time to use the restroom, pick what you want to watch on Netflix, set up your follow up appointments or review active wound care instructions. We prefer to keep our laser treatment room clean and free of having multiple visitors. We want to keep our focus on your child and not worry about you potentially passing out or moving our equipment (in an effort to see what we are doing or comfort your child).

How long should we do the active wound care or after care instructions?

There isn’t a general answer for this as some heal quicker than others and we aren’t able to predict this. Healing occurs long after the physical appearance. This is because the functional aspect or oral motor development is ongoing even after the site has appeared to heal. Maintain follow ups with other providers on your team to determine next steps.

How long should doing the stretches take?

It shouldn’t be longer than the time you use to brush your teeth, which can vary for most so not more than 2 minutes.

Are the active wound care instructions necessary?

Absolutely, without this we won’t recommend moving forward with the procedure. Doing the after care work isn’t particularly enjoyable, it may be hard at first for you to do but you’ll get better and will soon be done with it. It’s essentially wound care and exercise/stretches for a muscle that hasn’t been utilized at its full capacity. Dr. Hamlin knows first hand it isn’t fun but necessary for the success of the completed treatment.

What is used for the procedure?

Dr. Hamlin uses a non-contact CO2 laser to complete the minor surgical procedure called a frenectomy. For infants, the procedure includes going to the treatment room, swaddling, taking the post op images and bringing the baby back to the parents to feed.

Anesthesia for infants is not necessary or administered as the desire is for the baby to feed immediately after.

For adults and older children (more developed nerve endings), a topical or local anesthetic may be applied. Since the tongue itself is numb, please wait until the feeling of numbness goes away to eat.

Can I use orajel on my infant?

We do NOT recommend the use of oral numbing agents as this will inhibit the child from feeling when it’s time to nurse which is usually after stretches are completed. Swallowing the oragel/topical numbing agent also makes perception of swallowing difficult. Follow your child’s pediatricians dosing recommendations for Tylenol or Mortin. Arnica is a great alternative as well.

Will my child swallow their tongue?

No, human anatomy will not allow for that. Releasing the string of connective tissue doesn’t completely unattach the tongue from the floor of the mouth.

Connect With Us

We look forward to meeting you. Call 757-904-4347 or book an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.