This is the follow-up of my previous blog post “Tongue Tie Identification: Whose job is it?”. If you have not read that post, please read previous blog post featured below.
Several types of professionals can perform tongue tie revision surgery such as a dentist or an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor. Ask around your area to find out which provider has the best reputation with other parents. Call a local Speech-Language Pathologist for a recommendation. Ask other parents’ opinions on a recommended provider via a Facebook local parenting page. As always, if you meet the provider for a consult and do not feel comfortable with him/her performing the revision, do not schedule the surgery at that office.
There are two primary procedures (frenectomies) that are utilized to remove the tongue tie. There is the surgical release procedure under brief general anesthesia and there is the laser procedure without general anesthesia. There are positives and negatives to each of these procedures. Once again, arm yourself with knowledge and ask questions.
After the identification of my little guy’s tongue tie, I made a referral to a pediatric dentist in town who performs laser frenectomies. I have not met this dentist- but he was recommended to me by my daughter’s orthodontist when I met with him to discuss tongue ties and other orofacial myology problems. I felt this was a solid, reliable recommendation based on the fact that the orthodontist sends his own children to this pediatric dentist. My client had his first appointment with the pediatric dentist on September 20th and a laser frenectomy (tongue-tie revision surgery) was scheduled for September 25th. His mother reported that the dentist took one look in the child’s mouth and stated that it was very obvious that he needed the surgery and it would be scheduled very soon. After the appointment, the child told his mother that he “liked the tongue doctor because he is nice and going to fix my tongue to normal”.
The child’s parents were both understandably anxious about the procedure. The child was a little hesitant of the unknown, but excited to be getting “a new tongue”. His mother reported that she couldn’t believe how quickly the procedure was over. The mother returned to the treatment room and the staff immediately told the child to show his mom his new tongue. This is the first time that the child’s tongue tip has ever made it to the top of his mouth.
The dentist suggested that the child eat an ice cream cone soon because the cold temperature would feel good in his mouth. After leaving the dentist office, the family stopped for ice cream. The mother was amazed how quickly her son was able to eat the ice cream and that he consumed all of it. She reported that she had never put much thought into it before but that her son never ate much of his ice cream because it would melt before he could eat it. His short, restricted tongue had been unable to properly lick ice cream! Of course, as a Speech-Language Pathologist, my primary concern with his tongue has been how it affects his speech sounds. But, the ability to enjoy an ice cream cone is a pretty cool extra benefit!
Here is a picture of his tongue one week after the laser revision.
Speech-language therapy is continuing several times per week. He is making progress but continues to require oral motor exercises and articulation drilling to increase his production of specific sounds. His tongue has to get used to being able to move frequently in all different directions. He loves his “new tongue” as he calls it. He has been quite the Speech Rockstar and is so much fun to work with! I am excited about the progress he can make before he enters Kindergarten next Fall!
I will leave you with a picture collage that his mother created of his “old” and “new” tongue.
Peace, love and speech therapy!