What To Do When Your Baby Is Tongue Tied

24You’ve probably heard the expression “tongue tied,” meaning that a person doesn’t know what to say. However, did you know that the same expression can also describe a genuine medical condition? It is called ankyloglossia, a condition that is congenital, or present at birth. Ankyloglossia is potentially serious, as a tongue tied baby may have difficulty breastfeeding. However, if your baby has ankyloglossia, the good news is that it is usually fairly easy to treat.

What Is Ankyloglossia?

The term “ankyloglossia” comes from two Greek root words: “glosso,” meaning “tongue” and “ankylo,” meaning “fused” or “fixed.” Thus, ankyloglossia is a tongue that is fused to the bottom of the mouth and unable to move freely.

The frenulum is the band of tissue that connects the tongue to the lower jaw; you can see it if you curl your tongue backwards while looking into a mirror. In order for a baby to have full range of motion of the tongue, the frenulum is supposed to loosen and separate from the tongue during development in the womb. However, sometimes the frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue, resulting in ankyloglossia. It is not known what exactly causes ankyloglossia, although boys seem to be affected more often than girls and genetics seem to play a factor as well.

What Are the Symptoms of Ankyloglossia?

A baby with ankyloglossia may be unable to place his or her tongue in the proper position (over the lower gum) to breastfeed. Difficulty breastfeeding may lead to “failure to thrive,” meaning the baby is not getting enough nourishment to gain weight and develop properly.

If your baby tries to chew on your nipple instead of sucking it, this may indicate ankyloglossia, as a tongue tied baby may resort to this in order to compensate for breastfeeding difficulties. However, chewing on the nipple will actually impede the baby’s ability to get milk, as well as being painful for you.

Other symptoms of ankyloglossia include the shape and movement of your baby’s tongue, which may appear heart-shaped or notched when your baby sticks it out. Your baby may also have trouble sticking out the tongue, lifting it to the upper jaw, or moving it from side to side.

How Is Ankyloglossia Treated?

Once the condition has been diagnosed and you decide to fix the issue, an ankyloglossia surgery dentist can perform a simple outpatient procedure called a frenotomy in which the frenulum is cut free using a Laser Frenectomy procedure. This procedure is virtually pain free and requires no anesthesia. If this simple tongue tie procedure with a laser is not sufficient, a surgical procedure called a frenuloplasty, or reconstruction of the frenulum, may be an option.

If your baby is having difficulty breastfeeding, contact your pediatrician or lactation consultant right away.

Laser Frenectomy May Ease Breastfeeding Frustrations for Tongue-tied Babies

New mothers know that breastfeeding is often not as easy or natural as it looks; it takes a while to figure out positioning and how to properly latch the baby onto the breast. Once you figure it out though, breastfeeding can be a wonderful way to bond with your baby. But for some newborns, that proper “latching-on” just never happens, leaving moms and infants frustrated. There can be many reasons, but for four to 10 percent of newborns, this improper latch is due to tongue-tie, a condition that can now be quickly and easily resolved with a laser frenectomy procedure.

What is Tongue-Tie?

Ankyloglossia, or tongue-tie, is a condition where the frenulum, the soft tissue connecting the underside of the infant’s tongue to the bottom of the mouth, is too short or thick, limiting movement. For about half of the babies with this condition, this makes it difficult for the infant to latch properly and breastfeeding becomes complicated.

How Does Tongue-Tie Affect Breastfeeding?

Without a proper seal babies aren’t able to nurse efficiently and this leads to slow growth and improper nutrition. For mothers, this uneven latching means that the milk ducts aren’t being emptied properly, causing a decrease in milk production, sore nipples and often mastitis (breast infection). Though sometimes the frenulum stretches and some infants are able to breastfeed even though they have this tongue-tie condition, more severe cases often require a laser frenectomy procedure to correct the problem, allowing a better latch and proper suction.

How Can Laser Frenectomy Help?

In the past, ankyloglossia surgery involved anesthesia, scalpels and stitches, but with the advancement of laser technology, trained professionals within a pediatric dental group can now use a laser to loosen the frenulum with little pain in a matter of minutes. There are a few side effects to a laser frenectomy procedure and recovery is very fast. Infants who undergo this procedure are usually able to breastfeed immediately afterward. Professionals debate about how soon ankyloglossia surgery should be done. Some think it should be done even before the newborn leaves the hospital, while others prefer to see how much the condition will affect breastfeeding.

The benefits of breastfeeding abound. For babies, breastmilk provides the perfect nutrition, bonding time with mom and an added dose of antibodies. For mothers, breastfeeding increases bone mass, decreases cancer risks, releases oxytocin and saves money. With all these benefits, it may be worth the effort to consult with professionals about a laser frenectomy procedures on babies to see this may help your tongue-tied infant.

Dentist Serving Children With Special Needs

Do you have young children with down syndrome or social phobias? If so, then it is important to find a special needs dentist who is prepared to accommodate you and your child. If you search online for a “kids dentist near me,” how can you know if the dentist will be one who is trained to serve children with special needs? There are several items you can look for to assess whether the pediatric dental group will be able to support your family.

  1. Offers pre-appointments. A pre-appointment is a time for your child to discover that the dentist’s office is a safe place. Your family will get the chance to see the spaces your child will encounter, meet the special needs dentist, and familiarize yourselves with any tools that the doctor utilizes to help children through the appointment. This experience will allow your child to feel comfortable in the dentist’s environment.
  2. Provides a dentist with specialized training.Only a few pediatric dental groups in your area will have a dentist who is specifically trained to work with children who have special needs. You could even ask the dentist what types of special needs children is he or she accustomed to working with.
  3. Maintains accessible office space.If your child is in a wheelchair, accessibility is most likely very important to you. Visit the office prior to your 1st appointment to ensure that your child can get around the office space without too much disruption. Check that the office has adequate thresholds, doorway widths and stability equipment to care for all your child’s needs.
  4. Gives sedation if needed. Often, a special needs dentist offers various levels of sedation to adequately care for your child during should anxiousness or proceed complexity appear to be an issue. Options range from mild sedation to general anesthesia. Discuss your needs and preferences with your dentist.
  5. Cites various experience. If the dentist and staff have worked extensively with a range of children with special needs, they may have strategies to handle common and unexpected needs. They will be more likely to have the ability to support your child. The pediatric dental group might even offer advice on oral care at home for your child with special needs.

Special Needs Dentist in Bucks County


The special needs dentist that is right for you is willing and eager to serve your family. Find someone who will meet you, who shows training and experience, and who operates in a supportive space with the sedation options your child needs. Search “kids dentist near me,” and check out the results to find the pediatric dental group that is right for you.

Why Dental Sedation Might Be Right for Your Anxious Kid

If your child is terrified of visiting the dentist, it’s important to find a solution that works for your family. Your toddler needs to see a dentist on occasion to ensure their teeth and gums are developing the way they should be and no issues are apparent. However, if you can’t get your child to cooperate at your family dentist, a pediatric sedation dentist might be just what you need.

Goals of Dental Sedation

Before you take to the internet looking for a “kids dental office near me,” you need to understand what dental sedation is all about and how to know you’ve chosen a dentist who will fit your toddler’s needs. Here are some of the things you can expect from an excellent pediatric sedation dentist.

  • Keeping your child safe throughout dental exams and procedures
  • Controlling anxiety and minimizing trauma with the best chance of post-dentist amnesia
  • Lessening any pain or discomfort associated with the dentist office
  • Controlling movements and behavior while the procedure is safely completed
  • Returning the child to a state where safe discharge with no further professional supervision is needed

Levels of Sedation

There are four different types of dental sedation for kids. The first is mild sedation, which puts the child in a state where they can respond normally to verbal commands but may have impaired coordination and cognitive function. This is often the best choice for children.

The other types of sedation include moderate, deep, and general anesthesia. Each involves progressively stronger drugs and requires more care during and after the procedure that is taking place. The medications, depending on sedation level, may be oral, intranasal, intramuscular, or intravenous.

Deciding if Sedation is Right

In the end, as a parent, you are the one who determines the final treatment offered for your child. However, you can expect that your pediatric sedation dentist will offer guidance and education to help you make the right decision. An experienced dentist will explain the risks to your toddler and explain what practices are in place to avoid bad reactions.

Choosing the Right Pediatric Sedation Dentist

When you look for a dentist for your child, be sure they are experienced in dental sedation for young children. You want a pediatric dentist office staff who are pleasant and friendly in order to avoid additional anxiety for your kid. Be sure to ask questions and listen to your gut when making this important decision. Your child will be happy that you did.

How Smart Moms Choose a Kid-Friendly Dentist

Modern moms must wear many hats. Not only do they work hard at developing children into well behaved teens, they must instill a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, if you start early, you can likely teach your young ones the importance of good oral health. Finding an affordable dentist for kids that stresses healthy oral habits is a good step in the right direction. To reduce your anxiety throughout the day, you need choose a kids dental office that’s fun and close to school and other errands you may have throughout the day. Here are some ways smart moms choose a kid-friendly dentist.

Ask Other Moms

Successful mothers usually aren’t shy about sharing insights and advice with other moms. If an online search for “dentist for kids near me” produces too many results, we recommend you take a deeper dive into the reviews and comments being shared for each pediatric dentist near your home. Even if you don’t ultimately decide to visit a recommended dental office, you may learn what you need to watch out for.

Look at the Décor

Before you schedule your child’s appointment, you should plan to visit the dentist’s officeyou are considering on your own just to see how inviting the environment is and how welcoming the staff is. Have a child-friendly waiting room alone is just not enough. In addition to colorful décor, the dental office should have exam rooms that are pleasant to the eye, clean floors, story books for a young mind and meet your insurance needs.

Talk to the Staff

Visiting the dentist can be unpleasant at any age. For young patients, it can be downright terrifying. Before you decide on a dental office for your kids, be sure you speak to the receptionist, assistants, dentists and other staff members. If the personnel in the office have a kind, caring demeanor, you have probably found the right childrens dentist near you.

Think About Location

Some children simply don’t travel well. If you have kids that become irritable in the car, you are setting yourself up for failure if you choose a dentist that is too far away. Even if your child doesn’t mind doing errands with you, asking him or her to devote a significant amount of time traveling to and from the dentist may be unreasonable. Try to find a provider that is near your home or your child’s school.

Don’t Forget Insurance

Finally, you can’t forget about the costs involved so looking for an affordable dentist for kids, make sure the places you consider accept the insurance plan you have. If you have a strict policy, speak with a representative of the insurance provider before scheduling your first dental visit.

Smart moms know they must encourage their children to have good oral health. To help your young ones put their best tooth forward, find a kids dental office that’s fun and welcoming. While your search may take a while, the benefits of finding the best pediatric dentist in Langhorne, Levittown area are impossible to overstate.

Kids With Special Needs Need Dental Specialists

Children with special needs must see dentists just like any other child, but not all dentists have been trained to care for patients with special needs. That’s why your child deserves to see a dentist who is specifically trained to cater to children with special needs. When you’re asking, “What’s the best children’s dentist near me?” you’ll want to go to a practitioner who understands and accommodates the issues your child faces.

It’s About More Than Dental Care

Dental services for children with special needs should be more comprehensive. When doctors, hygienists, and assistants know how to accommodate emotional, physical, cognitive, developmental, mental, or sensory impairments, it makes all the difference to you and your child. Of course, the oral treatment includes the necessary exams, cleanings, and fillings, but special needs dentists are uniquely trained to understand how certain conditions may affect treatment.

How An Appointment Differs

When you go to an appointment with a special needs dentist, you’ll notice that the dentist’s approach is different than a typical dentist. In general, there may be a slower and more gentle approach. It’s even better when the pediatric dental office isn’t busy. Some dentists will provide special needs patients with general anesthesia as a surgeon would in an operating room. This is very wrong but it does happen.

Choosing the Right Dentist

The parent should take several things into consideration when it comes to deciding on a dentist for your special needs child. It’s great if the office staff is well-trained to identify children with special needs. Choose a dentist whose receptionist will make the proper accommodations, such as making the appointment slightly longer.

Another important factor is whether the childrens dental practice has specialized equipment. For example, you may want a dentist who has a theater set up in the exam room. This way, your child will get to watch his or her favorite movies or TV shows, making the experience much more pleasant. The dentist should also provide unique advice for dental hygiene with your kids. For instance, he or she may advise you to use a toothbrush with a cartoon character on it.

You Should Feel Comfortable and Confident

Taking your child to the dentist shouldn’t be a stressful or an uncertain process. You deserve to go somewhere where you and your child feels welcomed and accommodated. The right dentistry practice will go above and beyond to ensure your child’s needs are met.

Raising a child with special needs is rewarding, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. Going to just any pediatric dentist near me shouldn’t be one met with challenges. The right one will make it an easy and fulfilling experience.

Dental Sealants Help Kids Avoid Cavities

While teaching children the proper way to brush and floss is key to encouraging a lifetime of healthy dental habits, professionals working in pediatric dentistry will likely agree there are few ways more effective at preventing cavities early in life than dental sealants. Sealants are also safe, affordable and easily applied in a relatively quick and painless procedure.

Sealing a Tooth’s Natural Fissures

When a dentist applies a sealant, he applies a thin coating over the tooth. This coating smooths natural pits and fissures, usually found on molars. Those fissures and grooves serve a purpose. They help grind food. Pits in and around those grooves can trap food, however, which can lead to tooth decay.

This begins with the buildup of plaque. Typically, young children brush poorly and incompletely. Many skip brushing altogether. When this happens, plaque develops along the teeth, especially in the gaps and spaces between teeth and near the gums. Dental sealants in kids helps eliminate this plaque buildup because of the protective film that forms is designed to minimize the buildup of plaque.

Helps Defend Against Gum Disease

Because it contains various forms of bacteria, excess plaque can lead to oral hygiene issues and signal the start of gum disease, or gingivitis. Left untreated, plaque buildup will wreak havoc on tooth enamel, a tooth’s natural protective barrier, and can lead to cavities. Too much bacteria can even lead to advanced periodontitis, which attacks both gum tissue and the bone that lies underneath.

It is easy to deal with plaque and prevent those possible outcomes. Once gum, bone and enamel is damaged, however, that damage cannot be reversed. Sealants, however, provide a way to easily prevent plaque buildup. Sealants on molars and premolars stop plaque in its tracks.

Encourage Good Dental Hygiene

Sealants can prevent many dental issues, but it should not be the only defense against oral disease. Parents should always teach young children how to take care of their teeth by properly brushing, rinsing and flossing.

When searching for a children’s dentist near me, make sure you ask if they do dental sealants. Not all pediatric dentists employ dental sealants in kids. Once you find the right dentist, ask about the dental services for children that are provided and ask if you can have the child’s molars and premolars evaluated to determine if they are good candidates for sealants.

Dental sealants are usually applied early in a child’s life, often between the ages of 5 and 7. This is when a child’s first permanent molars are expected to erupt. Secondary molars arrive between ages 11 and 14 and signify another good time to have teeth examined for sealing.