Lactation Assistance



How can a pediatric dentist assist with problems breastfeeding?

While breastfeeding can be one of the most natural and enjoyable times a new mom can have with her newborn, it can be quite traumatic when the baby is not able to nurse or latch easily. As a mom who has breastfed her own children and has helped many new mothers, Dr. Denisse can assess the challenges you may be experiencing. Often, she finds it involves the way the baby's tongue attaches can be the reason for the nursing problem. She uses the laser to treat tongue tie without needles during a pain-free procedure.

Tongue Tie (Ankyloglossia) affects breastfeeding in infants and speech in toddlers. Infants that suffer from tongue tie have limitations in the movement of their tongues that can cause them to be irritable or fussy. The tongue tie baby has difficulty creating or maintaining a good latch during nursing. Therefore, the baby gets tired in minutes and falls asleep before eating enough. As a result, the baby can experience poor weight gain, and the breastfeeding mom develops problems with breast pain.

Infants need to open their mouths widely enough to allow the tongue to protrude forward, past the gum ridge, and then take a big mouthful of the breast. When a tongue tie is causing problems with breastfeeding, several actions may occur:

  • The baby often does not open his mouth widely, thus not latching on to the breast at the correct angle.
  • Your infant may latch onto the nipple and ‘gum’ it, causing pain and eventually, nipple damage.
  • The tongue tied baby may not be able protrude the tongue past the gum ridge or lips because of tension on the short or tight frenum. 
  • If the baby is unable to make a good seal around the breast, milk dribbles from the mouth while sucking.

Any of these situations can leave both the mom and baby tired, uncomfortable and the baby still hungry. Dr. Denisse is an expert on the diagnosis and treatment of tongue tie, known as ankyloglossia.  She offers a complimentary visit in her Dental Studio 4 Kids. In fact, she can assess your infant a few days after birth for the revision of an abnormally attached lingual frenum. Her technique, using laser surgery, eliminates the need to place infants in a surgical operating room. It is a no-needle, pain-free procedure.

Pain-Free Laser Correction (Lingual Frenectomy)

Thanks to new laser dentistry, this procedure can be performed when your baby is just 10 days old. Dr. Denisse administers the treatment in the Dental Studio 4 Kids while your baby remains awake and feels no pain. Immediately after the laser surgery, the baby can nurse.

If your toddler develops speech problems, it could be related to tongue tie due to the restricted movement of the tongue that interferes with pronunciation of some words and sounds. Also, as your child grows, it can affect teeth alignment leading to malocclusion (misalignment between the teeth of the two dental arches as the jaws close) and gum lines known as gingival recession. Tongue tie is also related to sleep apnea, gingival recession and swallowing problems, due to abnormal position of the tongue that can affect the skeletal growth of your child. Come to our Dental Studio 4 Kids to get a complimentary evaluation for any of these concerns.

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