What a Tongue Tie Dentist Can and Can’t Do
Many parents come to us shortly after their baby has been diagnosed with tongue tie or lip tie, imagining that our practice is a “one-stop shop” for resolving breastfeeding problems. The truth is that we have an important part to play, but, nonetheless, a limited one.
A tongue tie dentist can:
- Confirm a diagnosis of tongue or lip tie
- Eliminate the obstruction to allow your baby normal freedom of movement
- Coach you in proper postsurgical care for proper healing
This eliminates the physical impediment to your baby being able to breastfeed normally. It ensures the restoration of normal freedom of movement, and that there won’t be complications from the procedure.
However, a tongue tie dentist can’t:
- Teach your baby proper sucking techniques
- Teach you to transition your breastfeeding technique
- Help you transition from nipple shield/bottle or other short-term techniques
- Diagnose other problems that may interfere with sucking
In order to take care of all these vital steps to ensuring your baby is able to breastfeed successfully, you need team support.
A Lactation Consultant: The Third Most Important Member of Your Team
(After Mom and Baby)
Your breastfeeding team needs the assistance of an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). Ideally, you’ve already started working with one before seeking a tongue tie procedure, but if you haven’t, now’s time time to recruit an IBCLC. Here’s why:
An IBCLC knows a variety of successful approaches to healthy breastfeeding. You likely only have experience with what has worked (or not) with your baby. Even if this is not your first child, your experience is limited to what has worked in the past. An IBCLC knows a wider variety of approaches and the benefits and limitations of each. They are trained to identify not just when something is going wrong, but why it is going wrong and how to fix it.
An IBCLC can also help your baby learn to overcome bad habits and techniques learned from their time sucking with tongue tie. This isn’t limited just to the week or weeks you’ve been trying to breastfeed–they start learning to suck in the womb and have had a lot of time to develop bad habits. An IBCLC knows exercises that will help your baby learn more productive sucking techniques.
If you are using a breast pump or other lactation aids, an IBCLC can help you learn how to use them properly to support breastfeeding, not interfere with it.
An IBCLC can help you identify potential problems with your lactation so that you can help ensure adequate production of healthy milk for your baby.
Although many people will offer support as a lactation consultant, certification shows that your consultant is adequately trained and adheres to a strict code of professional conduct. That’s why we recommend certified lactation consultants.
Other Members of Your Support Team
A lactation consultant is vital to the success of your breastfeeding efforts, but there are other people who can provide essential support for you and your baby during the transition after a tongue tie procedure.
An ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) can help diagnose other potential problems that may interfere with proper sucking technique, such as submucosal cleft palate or laryngomalacia.
A chiropractor or physical therapist can help if your baby has significant muscle tension that makes it hard for them to achieve or maintain latch on the breast. Sometimes you can benefit from one, too. A yogi can also help you with stiffness and tension related to breastfeeding.
Psychological support for mom can be very important during breastfeeding, especially when things aren’t going well. It’s not as easy to relax, avoid panic, or not blame yourself as self-help articles make it sound. If you are experiencing mood problems related to breastfeeding and its challenges, don’t hesitate to get the support you need. This may just be mom, spouse, or friends, but it may be a professional.
Team Effort Leads to Tongue Tie Breastfeeding Success
Your breastfeeding efforts will be much more successful if you recruit an adequate team to support you and your baby. We will be happy to refer you to good candidates for your team here in Columbia.
If you are looking for a dentist to perform a frenectomy (tongue tie release) in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment at Smile Columbia Dentistry.