Tongue & Lip Ties

Oftentimes mothers will have issues trying to breastfeed their little ones from day one.  They too often are told or assume there's something wrong with them and are often encouraged to go straight to formula.  In reality, there can actually be a problem with the oral anatomy of their new little one's mouth that is creating some of the difficulties.  Tongue tie occurs when a remnant of the connective tissue holding the tongue to the floor of the mouth while still an embryo fails to disappear prior to birth.  A lip tie occurs similarly when the upper lip attaches via a tether (called a frenum) too low on your baby's gums, making the necessary flange needed to properly latch difficult or impossible.  With a simple procedure called a laser frenectomy (laser tongue tie revision or laser lip revision are other terms) we can more often than not help improve this issue.

Dr. Roy became interested in tongue ties when their youngest son was born. While still in the hospital after his birth, Dr. Roy noted his son had the most restrictive type of tongue tie where the tip of his tongue was connected to the ridge where teeth would eventually come in.

Having spoken with numerous physician and dentist colleagues Dr. Roy realized there is an utter lack of education on tongue and lip ties in both dental and medical schools.

He traveled around the country to learn from some of the foremost experts who have been treating this condition for up to thirty years. After he’d read, visited offices and researched for nearly a year he felt he had learned sufficiently and began assessing babies and, when warranted, successfully performing revisions on infants. He now treats nearly thirty infants every month for this condition.

Dr. Roy has given seminars and lectures attended by physicians, nurses, dieticians, IBCLC (international board certified lactation consulants) and midwives in an effort to help spread the knowledge on how to properly assess for TOTs (tethered oral tissues). He has also had several colleagues visit to observe his techniques.

  • So what are ties?  Click here for more information and informative pictures.
  • What is a laser frenectomy?  Click here for more info.
  • Have a look at this table below of the common signs and symptoms of babies, moms, older children and even adults with ties.
  • Save time and fill out our tongue/lip tie and breastfeeding questionnaire by downloading it here.

Other resources:

  • Dr. Bobby Ghaheri is an ENT in Portland, OR. Dr. Roy flew out to observe his technique. His TOTs blog is invaluable.

  • Dr. Scott Siegel is an Oral Surgeon who published this study on the link between aerophagia (swallowing air) and TOTs.

  • Dr. Lawrence Kotlow is a pediatric dentist in New York and has a tremendous amount of info on TOTs as well as a book.

  • Dr. Donna Geddes published a study using ultrasound to show the movement of the tongue before & after treatment.

Issues that may result from restrictive lip or tongue ties include:

Baby’s symptoms Mom's symptoms Young children & adults
Poor latch or no latch Painful nursing Speech delays or difficulty with certain sounds
Chewing on or gumming mom’s nipples Plugged ducts or mastitis Very large gap in front teeth
Reflux or excess gassiness Cracked, bleeding or other nipple trauma Tooth decay at gum line due to food traps
Poor weight gain Sleep loss due to frequent feedings Receding gums on tongue side of lower teeth
Frequent feedings (less than two hours apart) Compromised milk supply Self-confidence issues
Long nursing sessions (45 minutes to an hour) Lipstick-shaped nipples after feedings Intimacy issues later in life
Thrush Thrush Upper body tension

Having a laser revision via a frenectomy of a tongue tie and/or lip tie can often help improve many of the symptoms listed! Follow up care of the wounds is needed whether on an infant or an adult to help ensure proper healing. Most of the time a new frenum will form during healing. Our goal is to have a new lip frenum that is far higher than the original and a lingual frenum that is farther back than the original. See post op care here.

Tongue Ties Laser Frenectomy Dental Louisville Kentucky
Infants Treated Laser Frenectomy Tongue Ties Dental Louisville Kentucky

Dr. Roy with just a handful (literally) of the more than 700 infants he has treated as of 2016. Every image is within minutes after the procedure!

Patient Infant Treated Laser Frenectomy Tongue Ties Dental Louisville Kentucky
Patient Infant Treated Laser Frenectomy Tongue Ties Dental Louisville Kentucky
Patient Infant Treated Laser Frenectomy Tongue Ties Dental Louisville Kentucky
Patient Infant Treated Laser Frenectomy Tongue Ties Dental Louisville Kentucky

From the top: Dr. Roy with his 1st baby he treated (picture is over a year later). Dr. Roy napping
 with a little munchkin. Look at that smile! Sometimes you just gotta cry when Dr. Roy holds you.