Breastfeeding plays an important role in early oral development — something Dr. Ann learned not only as a pediatric dentist but also as a mother of three boys. Many infants find their feeding ability hindered by a tongue and/or lip tie, filaments of skin connecting the tongue to the base of the mouth or lip to the gums. Infants having trouble nursing because of a tongue or lip tie often develop nursing ulcers on their lips, may leak milk while nursing, may take a long time to feed, and may suffer from colic or acid reflux, along with many other issues. They are also more prone to speech and dental problems in the future. Mothers, likewise, may experience a number of problems while trying to nurse a tongue- or lip-tied infant.
Fortunately, there is a simple, minimally invasive procedure that can make nursing easier for infants and mothers alike. Using her laser, Dr. Ann can release a tongue or lip tie in just 5–10 minutes, requiring, in most cases, only a topical numbing anesthetic for the baby’s comfort. The procedure results in little to no bleeding and minimal discomfort afterwards, so the infant can breastfeed immediately after the tie has been released. When undertaken according to recommended safety protocols, laser surgery is essentially risk free. The procedure does not involve medications, so there is no risk of an allergic reaction. No other complications have been identified at this time.