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  • Writer's pictureDr Samintharaj Kumar

Tongue Tie and Breastfeeding: How Frenectomy Can Help Nursing Mothers and Infants

Tongue tie, medically known as ankyloglossia, is a condition where the thin tissue under the baby's tongue restricts movement, posing significant challenges for breastfeeding mothers and their infants. As a seasoned dental surgeon specialising in various dental procedures, including frenectomy, I have had the privilege of encountering many cases demonstrating its impact firsthand. Among them, Jessica's story remains etched in my memory as a practical example of the profound effect frenectomy can have on breastfeeding outcomes for mothers and infants.

Jessica, a young mother in her mid-20s, sought consultation at our dental practice after experiencing significant difficulties breastfeeding her newborn son, Liam. Despite her determination and efforts, Liam struggled to latch properly due to his tongue tie (Kotlow Grade IV). This resulted in frustration and distress for both mother and child, with Jessica feeling overwhelmed by her inability to feed her baby adequately. He kept swallowing more air as he tried to latch on and this cause him even more discomfort and was also very 'gassy'.

Upon evaluation, it became evident that Liam’s tongue tie was hindering his ability to extend his tongue properly, making it challenging for him to latch onto the breast effectively. After discussing the available treatment options, including the frenectomy procedure, Jessica expressed her concerns about the potential risks and benefits. She was particularly apprehensive about subjecting her infant son to surgery at such a tender age. It is probably useful to know that Liam's lip thankfully did not have a tie requiring release !

Understanding Jessica’s apprehensions, I took the time to explain the frenectomy procedure in detail, addressing her questions and alleviating her fears. I emphasised the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, highlighting its safety and efficacy in releasing the restrictive tissue under Liam’s tongue. Jessica was reassured by our comprehensive approach and decided to proceed with the frenectomy under local anaesthesia.

The frenectomy procedure was performed swiftly and smoothly, with minimal discomfort for Liam. Jessica was relieved to see her son calm and content immediately after the procedure, with no signs of distress or discomfort. As Liam began to nurse, Jessica noticed a remarkable improvement in his feeding ability and latch quality. Gone were the struggles and frustrations of previous nursing sessions, replaced by a sense of ease and comfort for both mother and child.

In the days following the frenectomy, Liam’s feeding continued to improve, and Jessica’s confidence as a breastfeeding mother soared. She no longer dreaded nursing sessions but instead looked forward to the bonding experience they offered. With each successful feed, Jessica witnessed the positive impact of frenectomy on her son's overall well-being and development.

Jessica’s case exemplifies the tangible advantages of frenectomy for breastfeeding mothers and their infants. By promptly addressing tongue tie, we facilitate the resolution of breastfeeding difficulties, enabling families to establish profound and enduring bonds. At Nuffield Dental, I am deeply committed to providing individualised care and unwavering support to achieve the most favourable results for both mothers and their babies.

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