Your First Visit
+ How do I contact health:latch?
We meet you when you need us most. Once you click on “let’s visit," you will be asked to fill in basic information. This will immediately come to our attention. We will contact you to hear your story and see if health:latch is a match for you. No forms to complete as we have found that every story is best collected in person.
+ WHAT IS THE TYPICAL VISIT LIKE?
Once in the office, our lactation consultant will take a full history. We will verify all of your providers as each will get a full report at the conclusion of you visit. Your baby's feeding story typically is a beacon for what is needed that day. Our pediatric dentist will assess your baby with you being right there to watch. We will capture some photos that allow us to educate and discuss any treatment needs. If everyone is in full agreement (most procedures are done same day) the laser frenectomy takes our team about two minutes from start to finish. Not a rush but done to perfection. Your baby returns and we continue on with your feeding plan. Should your plan be to breastfeed, we are very successful at immediately latching at the breast.
+ IF A PROCEDURE IS NEEDED WHAT WILL THE RECOVERY BE LIKE?
We are honored to say that we have treated thousands of babies and have successfully improved feeding relationships between baby and mom. The CO2 laser technology does give some numbness to the area for about 4 hours following the procedure. We call this the “bliss” phase of recovery.
If a procedure is completed, we contact every baby at night to check in. Most families experience little to no pain or some signs of a fussy feed. We encourage them to follow the aftercare summary that is provided and reassure them the morning will bring resolution of any symptoms.
+ Do you give a summary of the visit?
There is a lot that is discussed during these visits. As experts in this area, we aim to answer all of your questions. We do not expect our tired families to remember everything that is covered in this non-rushed environment. Our team will present a full AFTER VISIT SUMMARY with all the information you need specific to your story. We will give you resources, videos and referral contacts if needed. This is a beautiful systematic approach to lactation and frenectomy. Most babies exit sleeping in their cars seats.
+ Why don’t you take insurance?
We started health:latch with one goal in mind: to help babies and their families thrive. In order to do this, we see only a handful of babies a day to give each family more one-on-one time with our doctor and RN, IBCLC (registered nurse lactation consultant). Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t see the value of this highly personalized care and we are committed to doing what is right for our babies and families - without exception and without compromise.
We cannot be compared to a medical or dental practice, because frankly, that’s not what we do. We focus on one thing and one thing only - tongue and lip tie as it pertains to breastfeeding and the long-term health effects of airway development in a child. We know that what we do at health:latch changes the trajectory of a baby’s life forever and we are honored to be part of our families’ stories.
+ Can you help us get reimbursed?
While we do not accept insurance, we do our best to provide you with the right information to seek reimbursement from your insurance carrier. Prior to your appointment, we can email you a list of medical and dental codes so that you can research your coverage.
You will be billed in full at the time of your service. Following your appointment (typically within 24 hours), you will receive an itemized superbill with medical and dental codes as well as patient notes to submit to your insurance carrier. If accepted, you will receive reimbursement directly from your insurance provider.
To be clear, we provide you with documents for your reimbursement, but it is your responsibility to follow-up with your insurance provider. We do not submit any claims on your behalf.
+ What’s normal?
It’s normal to face a learning curve as you and your baby settle into nursing, but sometimes there’s a bit more going on: thrush, persistent pain, sore nipples, plugged ducts, or a baby who seems to gulp air instead of getting enough milk. In fact, studies indicate as many as 0.2 to 10 percent of newborns are born with a tongue tie, limiting their ability to move the tongue and latch on to the breast properly. As professionals with years of experience diagnosing tongue tie and lip tie, we’re committed to taking the time to listen, understand, and diagnose the issue.
+ What can I expect at Health:Latch?
If our team recommends a frenectomy and you decide it’s the best solution for your baby, health:latch can provide an unparalleled experience. By combining the proven benefits of laser therapy (less bleeding and scarring, shorter procedures and healing time, more accurate outcomes) with the expertise and follow-up support of a lactation consultant, we’ve seen families thrive. And while frenectomies can absolutely be done by other health professionals, we think it’s too important a procedure to offer as just another service. Founded by a pediatric dentist who’s passionate about pursuing good health beginning at birth, our practice is completely devoted to treating tongue ties and lip ties.
+ What is success?
So what have we seen? Well, there are usually tears involved – not from the baby, though that’s certainly possible, but from the mothers, who can tell a difference in the latch immediately and whose relief is palpable. We see the difference it makes to provide dedicated and immediate follow-up and support from a lactation professional after the procedure and in the weeks beyond to prevent relapse. We see growing babies and toddlers. And we see grateful parents whose children are healthy and happy, and whose whole family will benefit from a successful start.
+ What else can I do?
As a parent, you’re the best advocate for your child, and we want to educate and empower you during your parenting journey. Before, during, or after treatment, you might want to learn more about how tongue tie release can enhance breastfeeding success, benefit from reading current research, or find support from health:latch supported online communities on social media. At health:latch, we welcome working in conjunction with other health professionals, so if you’ve already consulted with your pediatrician or pediatric dentist and would like us to speak with them about your child, just say so!
+ How do I ask you about my child or make an appointment?
If you’d like to meet the health:latch team, whether just to explore your little one’s mouth or because you’re convinced your struggling baby needs our help, please go [here] to fill out a short online form. We’ll ask for some basic information about you and your baby. This initial handshake will be followed with an email link and a cascade events to gather insurance details and medical history, educate your family on our process, and let you schedule an appointment right through our website.
Tongue-Tie Specific Questions
+ What is a tongue tie?
A tongue tie is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue’s range of motion because the lingual frenulum (the band of tissue connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth) is too short. Estimates vary, but research indicates as many as 10 percent of babies are born with a tongue tie, and up to 25 percent of nursing infants can be affected by shallow latch caused by a tongue tie or lip tie.
+ What are the signs of a tongue tie?
In breastfeeding children, symptoms of tongue and lip tie can include: acting irritable or fussy during or after feeding; difficulty creating a secure latch during nursing; poor weight gain or weight loss; and falling off the breast frequently during nursing. For nursing mothers, tongue tie in your baby may cause breast pain; plugged milk ducts; engorgement, cracked or blistered nipples; a feeling that your baby is chewing or biting on the breast; and recurrent thrush or infections.
+ What problems are associated with tongue tie?
Because of the difficulties that can cause both the breastfeeding mother and the nursing baby to struggle, tongue tie can cause challenges, including an increased risk of a failure to thrive diagnosis or low weight gain, decreased milk production, acid reflux, pain, and ending breastfeeding earlier than you’d hoped. Older children may develop trouble chewing solid food, develop a lisp or speech problems, or develop a narrow upper palate, which can lead to airway related problems.
+ Why should a tongue tie be fixed?
Often a mother's supply and/or the baby's will to survive can compensate for a tongue tie in the short-term resulting in a seemingly successful breastfeeding relationship. The baby's growth can trend upward and measure well on our traditional growth curves. However, with restricted muscles, a baby must quickly learn a new behavior or a new way to engage otherwise passive muscles to form an irregular suck and swallow. This dysfunctional pattern repeated daily can be related to future dental and medical issues once thought to be a part of normal genetic architecture. Babies can be evaluated, and if identified, treated with a simple laser frenectomy to release the too-tight band of tissue so the tongue (or lip and buccal, in the case of lip tie) is free to move normally. health:latch has a core belief that the breast (and the muscles that draw milk) is the "architect of the airway." The positive aspects of treating an identified oral tether will and do last a lifetime.
+ What are the benefits of laser treatment?
As more families choose to breastfeed, there has been a renewed need for an optimal treatment modality to improve flexibility and healing properties at the treatment site. Due to frustrations and inconsistent result with scissors and other hot lasers, when the vision to open health:latch was realized, it was necessary to choose the best option for this treatment. The CO2 laser used at health:latch is the gold standard for an infant frenectomy and we would never think to use anything different. It allows for no or minimal bleeding at the treatment site which results in better visualization of the posterior tongue tie and quicker healing times for the baby. We have tirelessly researched all aspects of this procedure and the laser application to reduce the power as low as possible. Dr. Thomas has honed this skillset to provide a effective yet short treatment time (less than one minute), with minimal pain (and minimal or no needed analgesics), with no documented infection process to date, that heals quickly with repeatable results. We layer this on a treatment examination theory of "story first, function second and laser laser" to be as conservative as possible.
+ What is the difference between a frenOTOMY and a frenECTOMY?
A frenOTOMY is the procedure that has been done with scissors for many years. It usually involves "clipping" or "snipping" the tissue at the detected treatment site. Nothing is excised or removed during the process, just a separation of the restricted tissue. A frenECTOMY is a precise procedure usually performed with a CO2 laser to completely eliminate tissue restricting the tongue (or lip). The CO2 laser is preferred for a frenECTOMY for better visualization of all main and accessory fibers restricting the tongue.
Knowledge & Trends
We are excited to share Dr. Thomas’s thoughts, lactation trends, and general education with you!