Research shows that up to 10 percent of babies are born with an oral restriction and up to 25 percent of nursing infants can be affected by shallow latch caused by this condition.
The 3 types of oral restrictions are tongue tie (under the tongue), lip tie (under the upper lip) & buccal tie (inside the cheeks).
During the normal development of a fetus in the womb, tissue forms to anchor the tongue to the base of the mouth. In most cases, this tissue naturally dissolves to a small, flexible tether around the 12th week of pregnancy.
In some fetuses, this tissue does not dissolve, leaving a “left-over” tie that is especially short, tight or thick, which can restrict normal tongue movement. A lot of premature babies have an oral restriction because they were born before the tissue separated adequately in utero.
Although much more research is needed to better understand the cause of oral restrictions, there is growing evidence that points to a genetic link, specifically one known as the MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) mutation during the development of a fetus in the womb. It is often present in babies who are born with birthmarks known as “stork bites.”
Symptoms usually begin in newborns who have trouble feeding, then progress with age into chronic problems dealing with sleep, speech, behavioral issues — and more — if the oral restriction is left untreated.
In babies, an oral restriction can lead to complications with breastfeeding. The lack of tongue mobility can impair their ability to properly latch, suck, and swallow. This is why many oral restrictions are discovered and diagnosed due to difficulties with breastfeeding.
It's a great idea to check for oral restrictions in a baby if its breastfeeding mother has mastitis symptoms, decreasing milk supply, or clogged ducts.
If an oral restriction is not diagnosed or treated at an early stage, it can influence a range of health problems over the course of a lifetime. If ignored or never diagnosed, it can lead to a cascade of developmental issues in the mouth and even in the rest of the body.
Many clinical specialists in this field suspect that oral restrictions are related to serious, chronic conditions such as sleep apnea, asthma, heart issues, mental health problems, and acid reflux causes.
Many parents are concerned about ADHD symptoms in kids, and wonder about the cause of ADD in children. Few would consider that an oral restriction could be a part of the problem. Yet medical professionals are looking into possible links between oral restrictions and attention deficit disorders due to the way this condition affects breathing and sleep.
It is an outpatient procedure that usually only takes a few minutes and heals within a matter of days.
The procedures to release oral restrictions have evolved over time. In the past, scissors or scalpel were the main options available. With the invention of lasers for medical treatment, the procedure can be even more precise and allow for faster healing.
There are two types of tongue tie release procedures — a frenectomy and a frenotomy. As you explore your options, it's important that you know the difference between them.
Here at health:latch, we offer a tongue tie frenectomy using a CO2 cold laser, which many consider the “gold standard” for this procedure because it provides better visualization (especially for posterior tongue tie, which is harder to see), gives consistent results, minimal pain, and faster healing for the baby.
|Uses laser technology to eliminate tissue restricting the tongue or lip
|Uses scissors or scalpel to “clip” or “snip” restricting tissue
|Precise removal of restricting tissue
|Separation of restricting tissue
|Better visualization of all main and accessory fibers restricting the tongue
|Limited visibility of the restriction
|More consistent results
|Less consistent results
Treating an oral restriction like tongue tie requires more than just a simple "snip or clip." Oral restrictions can cause short- and long-term health issues that are different for each age, which requires a custom treatment plan built just for you.
To set yourself up for success, you want a team that communicates with each other across disciplines for a holistic health approach. A custom, multi-disciplinary approach to address accompanying issues like oral dysfunction, speech & language issues, and airway health & sleep will help your family have the best possible outcome.