Tongue Tie Clinic

A well fed baby is a happy baby

You may be surprised to learn that many of the challenges new mothers face with breastfeeding a newborn can be related to tongue or lip tie. It is however a condition that can be easily rectified via laser surgery.

Known professionally as ankyloglossia, tongue tie is a congenital condition in which the lingual (tongue) or labial (lip) frenum (sometimes called frenulum) is too tight, causing restrictions in movement that can cause significant difficulty with breastfeeding in the first instance.  Left untreated, there are other reported implications such as speech, dental, swallowing and digestive issues.

Common symptoms of a restrictive tongue/lip include poor ability to latch or inability to stay latched, sliding off the nipple, falling asleep at the breast, regular clicking during a feed, poor weight gain, maternal nipple pain or damage, increased maternal nipple or breast infection, compromised maternal milk supply, dribbling milk at the breast/ bottle and even digestive issues such as increased gassiness or reflux due to additional air being swallowed and poor control of the milk during swallowing.

Tongue or lip ties present in many different shapes and forms. Often health care providers only look for very prominent, classic tongue ties that often create a heart shaped tongue. However, tongue ties can be deceptively hidden in the base (back) area under the tongue and cannot be easily visualised. Critical for proper identification are not only a visual examination but a thorough investigation of the functional challenges as well as a manual examination of the mouth.

When the diagnosis is arrived at after full investigation and the surgery is done correctly where there is thorough removal of the restrictive attachment, the potential contribution a tongue or lip tie makes to challenges with proper feeding can be eliminated.  Laser surgery allows a layer by layer, thorough removal of the attachment of lip and/or tongue tie.  It is a relatively quick and straightforward process, not requiring general anaesthetics, the operating room, sutures or oral medications. It can be completed in the dental office within a few minutes.

Lasers are an excellent alternative to scissors or a scalpel as a means to incise soft tissue. In laser terms the tissue is “ablated”. Light energy is used to incise tissue rather than cutting that occurs with scissors or scalpels. The use of lasers in surgery has a distinct advantage over other methods for a number of reasons: it reduces the collateral damage as it is more precise and removes skin layer by layer, it is bactericidal (kills bacteria as it ablates), reduces oedema, swelling and inflammation and therefore allows for better healing through the concept of photobiomodulation.

Dentists using lasers need to be properly trained in laser physics, laser safety and are required to complete a suitable course on laser oral surgery. All methods of surgery require a good knowledge of the purpose of the surgery as well as the necessary post-operative care.

Treating the breastfeeding infant is not merely a quick “snip”. It involves informed consent by the parents, and a thorough clinical examination by an expert in the oral environment.

Dr Jones has been treating tongue tie in adults using laser surgery for over a decade and due to demand from lactation consultants and parents has more recently expanded her practice to include infants and small children. Dr Jones is a member of the IATP* and is one of very few providers of laser surgery in Australia who performs tongue tie surgery in infants. She welcomes patients from regional, interstate and overseas areas.  If required, accommodation is available for families at nearby apartment suites.

If you would like more information, please contact us for an information summary.   If you believe your infant or child may have a tongue-tie and you have observed the symptoms noted above, please call us on 07 3217 6688 to arrange for a consultation with Dr Jones.

*IATP – International Affiliation of Tongue-Tie Professionals

IATP is a global organization comprised of Expert Professionals who work with tongue-tie. The mission of the IATP is to further the understanding of tongue-tie via education, research and dissemination of old and new knowledge.  IATP members in the Expert Professional category must be expert clinicians who work daily assessing and/or treating tongue-tie and/or have performed research or are currently performing research on tongue-tie.

Accommodation for families from regional, interstate or overseas areas

Central Cosmo Apartments

Families may contact Central Cosmo Apartments directly and quote Enhance Dentistry to receive special rates.  In the event you find a cheaper rate through another source, you are of course welcome to book via that option.