A tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a membrane connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth which may decrease tongue mobility and give the appearance of the tongue being short and thick. An upper lip-tie is where a membrane under the baby’s upper lip is short or thick and is tightly attached to the upper gum. An upper lip-tie can be present also with a tongue-tie.
Tongue-ties and lip-ties can cause problems with breastfeeding such as (but not limited to):
Research shows that frenectomy is a safe and effective treatment. Possible complications may include bleeding, swelling, infection, salivary gland trauma, re-attachment.
Not all tongue-ties or lip-ties need to be clipped, only those that are causing breastfeeding problems.
Types of ties:
The dentist will do the procedure with his assistant. Everyone in the operating room will need to wear laser safety glasses. The intervention, which lasts 30-60 seconds, is performed using an 810nm diode laser. Laser advantages are numerous: no sutures, hemostatic, bactericidal, less damage to adjacent tissues, faster healing, less sensitivity post-op. The surgical site is prepared with topical EMLA. Baby is swaddled and put in a specially designed board. It is recommended to bring baby to the breast right after the surgery, as breastfeeding and breast milk helps with any bleeding, aids healing and is soothing for the baby. It might take a minute or two for the baby to settle and start breastfeeding. Many mothers feel less nipple pain and a better latch almost immediately. Others may take a couple of weeks to feel a noticeable difference in latch and/or nipple pain.
The dentist will examine your baby and make sure the bleeding has stopped before you leave the clinic. It is unlikely that the frenectomy site will re-bleed, but if this does happen:
Wash your hands with soap and water
After the exercises, wash your hands again with soap and water. These exercises may cause some minor bleeding. If this happens, breastfeed the baby again. If they make your baby feel irritable or seem painful, you may contact us but it is still important to continue doing the exercises and breastfeed after.
Generally, there is minimal bleeding and this is stopped by baby breastfeeding. If breastfeeding does not stop the bleeding, apply direct pressure to the site under the tongue with clean gauze. If the upper lip bleeds apply pressure with your finger on the upper lip or directly at the surgical site. Call the clinic or go to the emergency room with the document you were provided.
You may notice that:
We closely work with medical doctors, IBCLC lactation consultants, CLSC nurses, osteopaths, and chiropractors in order to deliver best possible care. It is important that you follow our post-op recommendations to ensure optimal results for yourself and your baby.
(Reference: Herzl Family Practice Centre, Goldfarb Breastfeeding Clinic)