At Enhance, your appointment begins with a member of our team taking a thorough history of the challenges being experienced. In the case of a breastfeeding infant, that history will include gaining an understanding of the symptoms of both mother and child, as each are vital in understanding the functional issues at play. Even with older children, an understanding of historical breastfeeding challenges are highly useful to gain an insight into the nature of function prior to the child potentially learning compensatory mechanisms. After the history has been gathered and passed to one of our treating dentists, she or he will perform a physical examination in the mouth using magnification loupes and a head lamp, examining under the top lip and palpating under the tongue to determine whether a tongue and/or lip restriction exists and the nature and categorisation of each. This processes may include a suck test and other assessment tools to identify the presence, nature and location of ties.
If additional time has been scheduled for treatment, and the treating dentist recommends laser surgery, the procedure will be explained to parents who are then asked for their consent for the procedure before treatment is carried out. At every stage, there is ample opportunity provided to ask any questions and seek clarification about any aspect of the treatment and what you may expect (so please ensure that after reading the fact sheet, you write any questions you have to bring with you).
For treatment, our little patient is taken to our treatment room, gently but securely swaddled (infant cases) and the laser release of the tongue and/or lip ties is performed. Throughout the procedure, the infant has a dedicated midwife focused on soothing and comforting them, while the dentist and dental assistant focus on performing the surgery. Immediately after the surgery, the infant is provided with skin to skin care and taken to the parents’ room. In the case of a breastfeeding infant, the baby will usually be assisted to nurse immediately. This has the benefit of ensuring the treated area is immediately bathed in sterile, soothing breast milk. The child is comforted following the procedure and the treating dentist and midwife are able to observe the functional aspects of the mouth and the midwife is able to determine the functional depth and quality of the latch achieved. Where an infant is bottle fed, we arrange with parents to ensure a bottle is ready post-surgery to allow for a feed and cuddle.
Following this, families are provided with as much time as they need to finish feeding and prepare for departure.
For non-breastfed toddlers and older children, the procedures are very similar, however the aftercare associated with obtaining a latch will be unnecessary and often these families are able to finish their appointment more quickly post-surgery if they wish.