Why I Eventually Chose Laser Frenectomy for BOTH My Kids

Well, who would have thought I’d ever write that headline? Not me, that’s for sure.

My 6 1/2 year old son’s Type 3 posterior tongue tie (before frenectomy). See the “webbing” that is pulling back on his teeth?

 

My daughter’s Class 3 upper lip tie — it goes straight in between in her teeth. Brushing was near impossible!

The Backstory

When my daughter was two weeks old, she was diagnosed with a class III upper lip tie (this blog has a great discussion of upper lip ties) (ULT) and type 3 posterior tongue tie (PTT). We were experiencing nursing problems and I was told she might benefit from an elective procedure called a frenotomy to surgically clip, or sever, the ties. I flat-out refused. In my mind, she didn’t need it. She was gaining weight like crazy. She looked like a little sumo wrestler. I was in minimal discomfort during nursing (okay…. To be clear, the first few weeks were excruciating. But eventually, the pain leveled off and became more of an irritation rather than toe-curling torture; it was tolerable….or so I thought).

Flash Forward a Year and a Half

A year and a half after that initial diagnosis, I changed my mind.

*record screeches to a halt*

What? Why the change of heart?

Well… here’s what happened:  I’d had a year and a half to rethink my initial decision — to do research, consult with experts, read personal anecdotes of other families with tongue- and lip-tied children, to observe my own kids — to live with the consequences of untreated ties.

After much deliberation and soul-searching, I finally decided to have BOTH my kids undergo this surgery. We opted for what’s called a laser frenectomy.

What Changed My Mind

My daughter’s symptoms:

  • Her lower front incisors began leaning in towards her tongue and getting a lot of  tartar build-up behind them.
  • Her upper central incisors developed plaque regularly; we could not brush efficiently in between her teeth because the frenulum was in the way.
  • Nursing, while tolerable, was never perfect (I developed recurring milk blisters, plugged ducts, and near episodes of mastitis; I always had irritation during feeds and afterwards, my nipples always looked slanted, like a brand-new tube of lipstick).
  • She did/does not chew her food enough; I always find large chunks of undigested food in her poop — even soft stuff, like avocados.

My son’s symptoms:

  • When he was an infant, he was a marathon nurser. No kidding. He would latch on for 45 minutes straight; unlatch for 15 minutes, and want to latch on again and repeat the cycle… all. day. long.
  • He projectile vomited after every feed. (I cry when I think of all the milk that was wasted!)
  • I experienced recurring plugged ducts, insufficient emptying of milk, engorgement.
  • After starting solids, he would gag whenever he ate, even soft foods like avocados.
  • He had a super sensitive gag reflex — he vomited whenever he coughed from illness or physical exertion (including laughing or light running).
  • He ate much too quickly, swallowed lots of air, preferred to wash foods down with some sort of liquid. Displayed a “pot belly” because of all the air swallowed and improper digestion.
  • He had infrequent bowel movements. When he was exclusively breastfed as an infant, his world record was 18 days without a poop. Everyone said that must be because my milk was so “pure.” While I wanted to desperately believe that theory, I always had a niggling hunch that something was wrong. When he began solids, he’d go 3 or 4 days without pooping, and then when it finally came, it was always with much crying and effort. And I had tried *everything* to ease his discomfort — prune juice, pears, loads of vitamin C, loads of liquids, greens, coconut and olive oils, mangoes, etc.
  • He was unable to produce certain sounds during speech, especially “r,” “s,” “sh,” and “ch.” He couldn’t even say his own name until he was about 5 years old. He would resort to spelling it out instead of saying it and felt sad and frustrated that he couldn’t say his own name.

The Chosen One

I wasn’t going to take my kids to just any local laser-happy doc (most dentists have NO CLUE how to properly diagnose lip or tongue ties). In the end, we chose Dr. James Jesse in San Bernardino to be our laser frenectomy provider. He was recommended to us by Dr. Larry Kotlow, arguably the world’s foremost expert on all things tongue/lip tie. He (and many others) declared Dr. Jesse to be THE laser frenectomy authority on the West coast.

The Procedure

My son went first. He was nearly 7 years old at the time. All in all, he took everything in stride. First was the topical numbing gel. We waited a couple of minutes for that to take effect. He drooled some and said he really didn’t like not feeling his lips. Then came the Ridiculously Huge Needle Filled with Local Anesthetic. That was probably the hardest part. He squirmed at the shots (2 in his upper lip frenulum and, if I recall correctly — it’s now starting to become a hazy memory — for me, not him! — and 2 in his lingual frenulum). After a minute or two, Dr. Jesse began lasering. The actual lasering portion of the procedure probably took less than 5 minutes total for both the ULT and TT. When he was finished, I gave my son a popsicle that we had brought from home in a cooler. It melted en route, so it was more like an Icee, but he took it gratefully.

My daughter, 19 months old at the time, went next. I had to lie down in the exam chair, embracing her in a “mama bear hug.” Her head was on my left shoulder and while I held her torso and arms, an assistant held her head still, and yet another assistant held her legs still. Dr. Jesse opened her mouth with one hand while the other hand maneuvered the laser. The procedure lasted about 15 minutes. I won’t lie to you. It was probably the longest 15 minutes ever. She cried the entire time. From the moment the numbing gel went on to when we were finished. At one point, she began mimicking the doctor and nurses with a distraught and prolonged “say Ahhhhh!” By the time the procedure was over, she and I were sweating buckets.

The Aftermath – Pain Management

Pseudo-crunchy mom that I am, I was bound and determined NOT to use any pharmaceuticals for pain management. Homeopathics were my go-to.  Here’s what I bought: Arnica, Staphysagria, Aconite, and Hypericum (all Hylands brand; but I didn’t use any of them). In the end, I wound up using a custom “Post Tongue Tie Release” tincture from my IBCLC that contained the aforementioned remedies, as well as Rescue Remedy for Kids (glycerin-based).

My daughter seemed to respond well to the homeopathic tincture, RR, and TONS of nursing. She also enjoyed coconut popsicles and ice cold fresh coconut water to “numb” her mouth. My son, however, seemed to be in more pain (despite frequent self-servings of fruit popsicles and chocolate ice cream!), so I did give him a couple of doses of Tylenol to take the edge off.

My son, 24 hours post-laser frenectomy. It’s the “classic” diamond-shaped wound that is made after releasing a posterior tongue tie.
His upper lip tie released; also a diamond shape.
My daughter 24 hours after laser frenectomy. She wouldn’t let me anywhere near her mouth to get a better pic. I’m lucky I got this one! (Look at that molar coming in back there! Poor thing, her mouth was all kinds of owies for a while.)

The Aftermath – Stretches/Massages/Craniosacral Therapy/Orofacial Myology

Dr. Jesse advised us to do upper lip stretches (pulling the upper lip all the way up to the nose 3x every waking hour for a week) and said that NO stretches or massages of any kind were needed for under the tongue. In his professional opinion, he believed that both my kids were old enough that their normal tongue mobility during talking and eating was enough movement to discourage any “reattachment” of the wound site.

I wasn’t convinced. I had read many, many articles (by The Medical Experts) and personal accounts which insisted that frequent and even “assertive” stretches and massages were required to prevent the ties from coming back.

So, I implemented my own stretching/massage routine. Every day, six times a day, for TWO weeks, I would sweep across my kids’ frenectomy wound sites with a gloved finger, using a bit of extra virgin coconut oil as a soothing lubricant. I’d sweep under the lip horizontally three times. Then I’d sweep under the tongue — three times horizontally, three times vertically — right over the diamond-shaped wound. In the first week, I used little to no pressure, just lightly grazing over the sites. In the second week, I applied a firmer pressure, similar to using a rubber eraser — somewhat firm, but not what I’d call aggressive.

Let me be clear. These were the most traumatic two weeks I’ve ever experienced as a parent. Ever. I thoroughly hated myself for what I was doing to my kids (they cried every single time; and I’m pretty sure they hated me, too), but I kept doing it because I thought it was the right thing to do. I thought the alternative was doing NO stretches/massages but risking reattachment and having to go in for surgery again. That was not a viable option. I could NOT put my children through this whole ordeal only to go back to the square one and start it all over again. No way.

So I persevered. And so did they. At the three week mark, I reduced the massages to three times a day. My kids were mostly healed and no longer vehemently protested the massages (there was still some whining, but none of the sobbing that ensued during the first two weeks). During this time, my son resumed lip and tongue exercises recommended by his orofacial myologist to help the wounds heal properly (without reattaching), as well as encourage new muscle movement. At the four week mark, I stopped the massages/stretches altogether.

My son and daughter have also had craniosacral therapy sessions (pre- and post-surgery) to help loosen any residual mouth, jaw, and neck tightness to encourage the newly released oral muscles to learn how to move and function properly.

Did/do the Stretches/Massages Prevent Reattachment?

I wish, wish, wish I had the answer to this. I don’t. Only time will tell.

There’s a lot of conflicting advice regarding frenectomy aftercare. Some docs recommend stretching and massaging the wound sites, many times a day for two, sometimes three, weeks. Some docs recommend doing nothing at all.

I found this lack of solid protocol maddening. It frustrated me to read one expert’s advice about how massages were absolutely required to prevent reattachment, but then read about how reattachment still happens despite following those recommendations. On the flip side, I’d read stories about how parents did nothing, and their kids healed fantastically anyway. It’s enough to make me scream! There definitely needs be some Properly Designed Research Studies (I’ll leave that to the science-y, statistically minded types) to suss all this out once and for all.

My son, 4 weeks post laser frenectomy.
The off-white scar tissue is all gone, leaving a ghostly trace of the diamond-shaped wound.

Now What?

We are now at the five week mark. My son continues to do his orofacial exercises, and my daughter tries to imitate him. She also voluntarily and enthusiastically lifts up her own upper lip and likes to wag her tongue around, basically being a silly toddler.

In my non-medical expert opinion, I think that my son’s upper lip frenulum has grown back some (not all, just some). Dr. Jesse says it looks totally normal — most of the restrictive tissue has been removed, and my son now has a more “normal” -looking and -functioning frenulum. I still think that my son has some tightness under his tongue. The “webbing” you see (in the first photo of this post) is greatly reduced, but there’s still some there. I think that he may need to have the “floor” of his mouth revised. I still am researching this, but I believe that lasering is done below the salivary glands to release any tight tissue there. He still has some speech issues and we will most likely seek the help of a speech therapist soon.

On the up side, my daughter’s upper lip looks fantastic. The frenulum that went in between her teeth is completely gone. There a little frenulum tissue way high up, but it no longer gets in the way when we brush, and she is MUCH more amenable to letting us brush there now. And when she smiles, you can see all of her top teeth (before surgery, her upper lip would conceal most of her upper teeth when she smiled). She also is able to open her mouth much wider than before, and that is good news for us, in terms of nursing. She does sometimes revert back to a more shallow latch, and humping the back of her tongue while nursing (so irritating!), but I’m continuing to encourage a deeper latch. As for her lingual frenulum… well, she won’t really let me in there for a good look. At the two week mark, I was convinced that I felt tight frenulum tissue (where there wasn’t any immediately post-op) whenever I ran my finger under her tongue. Without getting a good look, however, I can’t really say for sure.

Of course, the only one who will be able to give any actionable, professional insight and advice is our provider, Dr. Jesse. He has been very supportive and responsive to all my obsessive, imploring emails, and has said that we can come back for a follow-up to see how things have healed and see how we should move forward. I just may do that. (The only caveat being that he’s a couple hours’ drive from us, so if we do discover that additional lasering is needed, we need to be mentally, emotionally, and logistically prepared for that scenario. If that, indeed, turns out to be the case, I’m not sure I want to do it again so soon….)

Lessons Learned

My big takeaway: Laser frenectomy is not a magic bullet, not an overnight magical solution. While I have read wonderful stories of nursing babies suddenly achieving The Perfect Latch and kids being able to touch their noses with their tongues after revision, that’s not been our experience….But it’s early yet.

Overall, I feel good about our decision to choose frenectomies for our kids. There seem to be some tangible benefits already, and I’m optimistic that with more time and diligence (especially on the part of our kids), we will see further improvement.

Below are my older posts, in case you are interested in the evolution of my attitude towards tongue and lip ties and frenectomies.

Why I’m Choosing Not to Clip My Baby’s Tongue Tie

Osteopathic Manipulation Update: Is It Working?

Breastfeeding an Older Infant with Posterior Tongue Tie

What the Heck – Blebs and Plugged Ducts at 8 1/2 Months?

Nursing a Toddler with Tongue Tie

Websites/Resources that Helped Me Think All This Through

Dr. Larry Kotlow

Dr. Alison Hazelbaker’s book Tongue Tie

Frenectomy Today (a well-written, detailed personal account of tongue and lip tie)

Nurtured Child

Samantha Guerra’s story

Tongue Tie Babies Support Group on Facebook (the parents and medical professionals on this board offer an incredible wealth of information, support, and compassion)

Your turn! What’s your take on the whole tongue-tie issue? Did you or are you breastfeeding a child with a tongue- or lip-tie? Are you choosing to clip/laser? Why or why not? If you chose to have the procedure done, did/do you notice a difference? What advice or words of wisdom would you give to a parent just starting out on this long, winding tongue/lip tie journey? 

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26 Responses to Why I Eventually Chose Laser Frenectomy for BOTH My Kids

  1. Pingback: Why I’m choosing not to clip my baby’s tongue-tie » MamaSayMamaSo

  2. kristen says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I commented on your first post right after my son’s laser frenectomies on ULT and posterior TT. It’s been 2 weeks since the procedure, we do stretching and massaging exercises 3 times a day, have had one follow up visit where the doc said everything looked great, and 1 cranial sacral therapy session. But nothing has changed. My son’s latch is still shallow and my nipples are still raw after nursing. And I’m noticing under the tongue a bump has formed at the release site that I suspect is reattachment. We have another follow up next week and I fear needing another revision after 3 weeks of torture for my baby. It is so frustrating to not get that miracle fix and to keep seeking help but ultimately feel like nothing can help you. I’m still determined to breastfeed but my hopes of it ever being comfortable are dwindling. Maybe my little guy just needs a little more time, practice, and guidance. I don’t know. Best of luck with your little ones, I hope it all works out for you and them!

    • MamaSayMamaSo says:

      Kristen, big hugs to you….I feel your frustration — you both have been through hell and back and you’re looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. More hugs.

      From my limited personal experience, I’m guessing there could be a few things happening. 1) Baby is still in pain from procedure and it hurts too much to stretch tongue out more than he’s used to. (My kids seemed completely pain free after a month). 2) Baby needs suck re-training to help him break old sucking habits. 3) Procedure was insufficient (although I wouldn’t jump to this conclusion yet). I’m sure you tried everything on top of everything, but fwiw, I’ll mention the importance of proper latch and positioning. If you haven’t already, revisit the basics of latching baby on. A quick google search will give you great step by step results. And suck re-training. Do you have an IBCLC who is helping you? Or any local La Leche League leaders? Someone who is well familiar with working with babies & moms post frenectomy. If you don’t have anyone, please pm me (mamasaymamaso AT gmail DOT com). I know someone who I believe offers phone consults.

      Hang in there. Give it a little more time, on top of retraining and revisiting proper latch. Are you on the Facebook forum (Tongue Tie Babies Support Group)? I’d highly recommend joining, if not just for the moral support alone. :) The experts and other moms helped me immensely. You’re not alone. Seek support from the village mothers, even if it is via the web!

  3. Amanda says:

    Any further updates on any benefits or symptoms going away? I believe my 3 month old has an ULT and possibly a PTT but I’m not positive! I’m going to get my IBCLC to look at her hopefully this week- I’m still torn about getting the laser frenectomy done!

  4. Rachelle says:

    Just wanted to say as an adult who just had my tongue revised I think your kids will thank you. I joined the tongue tie group on facebook and it changed my life. I had my tongue revised and though I have a long way to go I am finally able to chew and swallow better and not have the pain I once had when eating certain foods. It is allowing my stomach to heal after 29 years of not chewing food properly, there is a lot of gut damage that led to self esteem and other issues. I now feel it may all be linked to my improperly eating from lack of mobility in my tongue. My son has ULT and no one can give me a for sure answer on his Tongue. He has good movement, but I thought I did too and I could stick my tongue out and had no speech issues. I still had postier tongue tie. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing because your son’s story is very similar to my son’s story. I am determined to find someone even if I have to fly somewhere who knows for sure if he has tongue tie or not. I also just wanted to thank you on behalf of your children, because you may just have saved them years of dental, digestive, and even possibly mental health issues by getting the revisions done. No there is not enough research, but the number of people is growing and with that I think more research will come. Since learning of TT and ULT just three months ago three of my close mom friends have shared with me that because of what i told them they checked and confirmed their children also have ULT and PTT. Keep sharing your story and look forward knowing that such a small procedure that yes caused some pain for a short period, but in the long run may save major pains later. Blessings to your family and continued journey!

  5. Beth says:

    Hello, and thank you for sharing your story. I found you in a google search about laser frenectomy. I have been having all sorts of feeding issues with my daughter who is now 7 months old. I finally sought out a good IBCLC who immediately diagnosed Isla with ULT and PTT – I had absolutely NO idea, had never even heard of a lip tie, and had never thought that her feeding issues could be caused by something like this. Without writing a whole book here…the IBCLC recommends a laser frenectomy ASAP with Dr. Kotlow, we live about 3 hours drive from him, so we can make that happen. AND I know a great craniosacral therapist who has been working with Isla even before we knew about these ties, just bc she is a friend of ours and was my doula with Isla so she is especially interested in Isla’s health and wellbeing. After diagnosis of ULT and PTT she spends an intensive weekend with us, doing craniosacral work on Isla. She is strongly against us getting the frenectomy, bc she worries it will be so traumatic for Isla. She is hoping that the CST would be enough to restore normal function. Any thoughts on this? Isla is 6th percentile (tiny), hasn’t nursed for 4 months and won’t even look at the breast or let me hold her in the nursing position (I’m exclusively pumping with hopes that someday she WILL nurse again!) and even bottle feeding is very very difficult. She arches away from the bottle every few sips unless she is very very tired and then she will take a full 4 oz bottle no problem. I just want what’s best for my little girl, of course I don’t want to put her through trauma, but I wonder if it could be possible for her to be healed of these ties through bodywork alone without the revision surgery. I can really resonate with your story, that’s why I thought I’d ask your thoughts! Thank you in advance! -Beth

    • MamaSayMamaSo says:

      Beth, I’m so sorry that you and your daughter have been going through so many difficulties. I can totally relate.

      As for whether or not I believe CST alone can fix tongue and lip ties, my answer is no. If she is having so many problems, and has already been receiving CST yet still has those problems, it seems safe to assume CST alone isn’t enough. A 6th percentile weight and reluctance to even feed by bottle unless very, very tired are both red flags that she is struggling and needs help.

      From what I understand, the frenulum is not able to be stretched. It’s similar to the webbing in between your thumb and forefinger. It stretches, but only so much and isn’t capable of being “worked” or lengthened any more than its natural length, if that makes sense. That’s my lay-person understanding (because I’m certainly NOT a medical expert, so please don’t take what I say as medical advice… this is only me talking as one mom who has been there and done that with regard to ties).

      Kotlow is your best bet. Based on everything I’ve read, he’s truly the leader in the field. That said, CST can be very beneficial, and some people believe it’s downright necessary, before and after the frenectomy. I’ve been told that CST can help bring more of the frenulum “forward” and make it easier for the doc to laser away more of the restrictive tissue. After the procedure, he will recommend stretches that you can do by hand, to reduce the likelihood of reattachment (I say “reduce the likelihood of”, not “prevent” because in some cases, even rigorous stretching has not prevented reattachment.

      I feel for you. All you want to do is give your sweet baby girl the best start in life, yet you’re terrified of traumatizing her with this procedure. I was the same way. All I can say is, if NOT doing the procedure has resulted in the current less-than-optimal results, perhaps you should consider what the benefits of doing the procedure might be. Have you read “Birthing from Within”? There’s this fantastic tool for making decisions during birth, but it’s also amazingly applicable to ANY decision, especially with respect to our little ones’ health. It’s this: Use your B. R. A. I. N.

      B – Benefits (what are the benefits of frenectomy?)
      R – Risks (what are the risks of frenectomy?)
      A – Alternatives (what are the alternatives to frenectomy?)
      I – Instinct (what’s my instinct telling me to do?)
      N – Nothing (what happens if I do nothing?)

      I am thinking of you and sending you the strength, energy, and love to make the decision that’s best for you and your little girl. I wish you all the best. If you feel inclined, write back and let us know how it went.

      Oh! And remember to join the Facebook group Tongue Tie Babies Support Group. They are a fantastic group. It’s a fast-moving forum, filled with personal experiences from parents and care providers alike. Hugs to you and Isla….

  6. Chantelle says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I am curious as to how your kiddos are doing now. Our little son was born severely tongue tied. Our pediatrician told us he could grow out of it, so not to do anything at the time. I have always wanted to have this done for our little man because feeding was a nightmare. They almost tube fed him in the NICU which would’ve been worse because he’d never learn to do it on his own. Our feeding experience was like yours with your son. So, because our Dr. recommended it, we waited. When he was 4 1/2 months she realized how severely he was tt’d and she finally gave us a referral. We decided to go to our own guy (ENT) referred to us by a friend because he didn’t unnecessarily put the babies under anesthesia. Unfortunately, because he was so much older than they typically like, and was extremely strong for his age, and the Dr. was a complete doe doe and wouldn’t let me swaddle him and promised he’d have nurses to help, but didn’t, he wasn’t able to get in there and really see. He ended up not clipping back far enough (after not waiting for the numbing to take effect) and my son got burned all over his hands and face. It was the most painful cry I’ve ever heard from him. I felt terrible. It was traumatic for me as well and we both left crying. His tongue still wasn’t able to be picked up off the floor of his mouth. He sent us home with no post op care instructions and according to the dentist we are seeing now it has reattached worse than it was before. We now have to pay to have it done again tomorrow and I am so angry and so scared. It is very traumatic to both babies and mamma’s.

    • MamaSayMamaSo says:

      Chantelle, I am aghast at your son’s experience! I am so so sorry that he and you had to suffer that! How has his recovery been? How old is he now? What kinds of symptoms is he experiencing currently?

      It’s been exactly a year post op for both my kids. Honestly, it’s hard to tell if there’s been improvement for my son (now almost 8). Some speech issues are still there but may just be a developmental thing and not a TT thing. As for my daughter (now 2.5), she is still nursing and I do believe it’s helped a bit, but nursing isn’t 100 percent comfortable. It may be because we never explored retraining her suck after her procedure.

      I suppose at this point it’s a matter of whether the symptoms are problematic enough for us to consider laser surgery again. It’s not a painless process so there have to be definite problems and a solid prospect of improvement (for us) to outweigh any additional discomfort for them. Plus, my son is extremely needle averse now and my daughter is, well… a feisty and strong toddler and I do not want to put her under GA.

      What do you think you will do next? Have you seen the Tongue Tie Babies Support Group on Facebook? It’s a wonderful resource for hearing other families’ experiences and gathering names of respected caregivers.

      Chantelle, I do hope this helps you even a little bit and that you find all the answers and support you need to take any next steps should you think that’s best. I am sending my love and healing and strength thoughts to you and your sweet son. Hugs, mama, you are doing the best you can. And that is all any of us can ever do.

  7. Chantelle says:

    Thanks for the reply! We are sitting here now waiting to take my little 10 month old in and have it redone by a dentist who specializes in it. I am so scared, but I have a really good feeling about her. Just nervous for the procedure and after care. I am sorry that you don’t feel like your son has had much improvement. The dentist did tell me that if we waited til he started talking it would be hard if possible to get him to change his speech. I hope this helps my little man. He is severely tt’d where he cannot pick the tip of his tongue off the floor of his mouth. Feeding. Him when he was first born was a nightmare. He would take an hour and a half to eat and want to eat 30 min later. He has a very strong suction but couldn’t swallow as fast as he could suck. When he would eat, you could literally hear the air going into his stomach with every swallow. It took us 2 months and almost $100 in bottles to find one that wouldn’t choke him to death! (Which ended up being the cheap $.97 bottles from Walmart that we started with, manipulated) Now he is starting on finger foods but when he puts them in his mouth, he chokes and throws up every single time. The food gets to the back of his tongue and can’t go further and he can’t stick out his tongue to get it out even though he tries and then he starts gagging. It has gotten so bad that he just looks at finger foods and starts gagging even if he’s not near it. We are scared that he has gotten an aversion to food which would be not so good.

    I am so scared for today. I leave in 15 min. He had such a bad experience (we both did) last time that I have been having nightmares about taking him in this time. I guess it will be worth it if he can just pick his tongue up off the floor of his mouth. I hope he does better than I have been imagining it would go. Luckily I don’t have to be in the room this time. She is pulling all her nurses in the office for this one! :) he’s a very big strong 10 month old! I’ll let you know how it goes this time around!

    Good luck to you with your two littles. It has been nice having someone to talk to. Even though it has been brief. It has given me hope and a little more courage! Thanks so much for that. I did join that group yesterday and was excepted early this morning. Maybe I’ll troll the site while I’m waiting for my little man to be done with his procedure!

    Thanks again for everything!

    • MamaSayMamaSo says:

      Chantelle, sorry, I didn’t see this til today. How did the procedure go? How’s your little guy doing? I’m hoping that all went well an that recovery is speedy. Hugs…

  8. katie says:

    So, I’m a speech pathologist with 2 kids now 3.5 and 6. My son had a very tight lingual frenulum and we were going through nursing difficulties so at 8 days I had it clipped. He had the classic heart shaped tongue. I felt like the clipping they did helped our nursing relationship, but his tongue is still pretty tight. His dentist has not suggested further clipping and I’m not sure if I’d do it because he really has no symptoms at ALL at this point.

    My daughter has a tight upper labial frenulum and it’s separating her teeth significantly. She also had difficulties nursing and we thought maybe it was the frenulum but weren’t sure when she was so little. :) As she loses teeth and her adult teeth come in and she eventually needs braces (or not?) we will probably get the labial one clipped/lasered. But, she has no issues and I’m leaving it alone for now.

    I think my husband for these genetics. His lingual frenulum is also REALLY tight. Maybe he and my daughter can get lazered together. :)

  9. Chantelle says:

    Thanks for thinking of us. He did well. I could hear his screams from down the hall. It hurt my heart. He just doesn’t like people in his mouth. The dr said as soon as she released the tongue he started sticking it out and kept doing it until I came around. He tried a few times afterward but I could tell it was hurting him. So I still haven’t seen it yet. She said his TT was pretty severe. She had to cut clear across the bottom floor of his mouth because his muscle was grown out to less than a cm from his gums. So she said his recovery will be a lot harder and more slow than most. She has me massage it before every feeding and I went in for his post op yesterday and she said I hadn’t been massaging hard enough. I thought I was doing it pretty hard. He screams bloody murder (who wouldn’t when being massaged on their incision) and it makes my stomach churn to know I’m the one causing the pain. She said to use clove oil along with the coconut oil because the clove oil is a natural antiseptic and says it numbs it a little. It seems to help him calm down faster. I can feel though, that it is loosening up. It had gotten pretty tight since the first couple days. She said I’ll have to do this for 4+ weeks. I’m so sad. It has made me want to push his feedings as far as I can because I hate hurting him so badly. But he has been eating finger foods and has not gagged or thrown up once since then!!!!! Coming from gagging when just looking at food. He even wanted the food on my plate the other day. He hasn’t done that since before we started trying finger foods. YAYYAYYAYYAYYAY! Seems like this really was the problem. See pediatrician! Mamma’s know best! :) thanks so much for your support in all of this. It has been nice to talk to someone who knows!

    • MamaSayMamaSo says:

      Chantelle, that’s fantastic. My heart is with you. I know how much those stretches and massages can make the little ones scream. :( But it sounds like the procedure has already made a huge difference. I am hoping and praying that it only gets better and better every day.

  10. Beth says:

    Hello! I am pretty sure my 17mo has an upper lip tie so I am trying to learn what I can. Your post came up when I searched “upper lip tie undigested food,” because that is a MAJOR problem with my son and I am wondering if the lip tie is to blame. I was wondering if your daughter’s lip tie/tt revision resolved the issue of undigested food in her stool.

    • MamaSayMamaSo says:

      Hello Beth! Sorry for the gross delay. Life has been crazy! Yes, I do believe she slowly began to chew her food more post-frenectomy. Maybe it had to do with the release; maybe it was just an age/development thing. I will say that my son still has the tendency to wolf his food down. Perhaps if he got the release when he was an infant, he’d have outgrown the habit of gulping breastmilk and learned how to take in all liquid/food appropriately. Just a theory. I do believe an upper lip tie can restrict closure of the mouth, which can lead to mouth breathing, and perhaps also improper chewing. You may also want to check for a posterior tongue tie (they are a little harder to spot but can definitely affect chewing/digestion).

  11. Tara says:

    Thank you for this well articulated article. I just had my daughter’s lip tie done a week ago. She is 21 months old and I -just- found out about lip ties. Oh how I wish I would have known about them earlier! It would have saved us so much pain & heartache. Our experience sounds similar to your son’s. I have just been powering through nursing. She still nurses ALL NIGHT LONG. LIke you, I just dealt with the pain, sometimes excruciating & me crying, knowing that breastfeeding is what is best for my little girl. But it has been a difficult journey. I’m in the aftercare part right now and I feel like the worst parent ever. My daughter has sensory processing issues so she does NOT like to be touched or fiddled with. The procedure was hard enough, but this aftercare is horrible. She screams and cries and fights me. And when we are done, she cries for so long afterward. Yesterday after I finished wiping her lip, it started bleeding profusely. I just want to give up, but I don’t want it to reattach, as the doctor said it was one of the most extreme cases he has seen. I am just trying to keep my head above water here and hope we can make it through the next couple weeks with my sanity intact!

    • MamaSayMamaSo says:

      Tara, hugs to you, mama…. Aftercare was horrible for us, too. Are you using anything for the pain? I was too paranoid to use Tylenol for my toddler, but I did give her homeopathics: arnica, Rescue Remedy, and a custom homeopathic tincture (aconite, bellis, bryonia, chamomila, hypericum, staphysagria) made for us by a local homeopath. I also did the massages/stretches with coconut oil. Honestly, I’m not sure how much they helped because she still screamed and fought each time. :( It did get better after a few weeks, and I hope it gets easier for you and your daughter much more quickly. My near 8 year old also has sensory processing issues, and it was so, so difficult. Might you consider giving her some kind of treat before or afterwards? A popsicle or flavored yogurt maybe? Something cold to numb the area and make it a little less daunting (if that’s possible)? Hang in there…. it *will* get better!

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  16. Traci =) says:

    Hello – I am taking my 4 week old in for a PTT frenotomy with Dr. Jesse on Wednesday. I am also a pseudo-crunchy mom and wondering about the “post tongue tie release” tincture you got from your IBCLC? Do you think I can purchase some from her or do you have a recipe to share??

    I am sooo nervous for the procedure but I pray that it helps — hat it helps her nurse better, become full so she’s not so hungry/fussy all the time and able to sleep sounder.

    Thank you for your post!
    Traci =)

  17. lily says:

    I learn more about the post operation side of a frenectomy than during the consultation, so thank you. I asked when the swelling will subside and when he will feel pain free again and the answer was that in 1 -2 days of swelling and pain and back to normal around 1 week. But from the comments and your article, there’s massages and stretching involve and “normal” is more like 4 weeks.
    I don’t know if it’s because my child is a teenager now..so healing is different, or the surgeon is just not giving out too much information. When I mentioned that removing her braces (braces to close the gap between the front teeth ) would be ok a week after surgery then and that’s when I am told that it will be s more like 1 -2 months after surgery. I feel like if I don’t ask the right questions, I won’t have the whole picture. So here I am, googling on frenectomies.
    Our dentist never said anything about the deep frenum (down to the gumline) so that’s why we are just now considering the procedure and not when my child was a toddler or preschooler. My child always had difficulties smiling (for pictures) and the smiles don’t show upper teeth (even though he strain to do so..to even form a smile) and have difficulties talking fast and when he was younger, certain sounds take longer to learn. And we have never heard of frenectomy until I got her in for braces. Even that orthodontist seem to minimize how difficult it is after the surgery can be. I thought it’s a simple cut and heals in a week.
    Even though the procedure and healing process is difficult, I wish I had learned about it much earlier and considered it much earlier. Also, he used to embarrassed about his gapped teeth, that he talks very little, tries not to smile and covers his mouth when he does. The braces did help him smile so much more though .

  18. Melissa, Mom of Two! says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience – it really helped to cement my decision to have my six year old son’s tongue tie taken care of. Although I considered Dr. Jesse (I’m on the West Coast), I ultimately decided to go with Dr. Gene Liu at Cedar’s Sinai. He’s an amazing doctor, and one I trust. He took care of my son’s tongue tie in one visit – no general, no stitches, easy as can be. The whole thing lasted 5 minutes. Ultimately, I was thrilled and my son was overjoyed that it was done. Mild discomfort on the evening of the first day, and some pain on the second day, but after that, he didn’t even need a pain killer. We did the exercises 3x a day, and I also swept coconut oil under his tongue 2-3x a day. The site is now completely healed – and he can now stick out his tongue for the first time ever. :) Really highly recommend having this done via laser or cauterization tool, rather than by costly, scary surgery with long healing time. But have it done by someone you trust! Many many thanks for sharing your experience.

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