When I was a kid, I was picked on for a few physical traits: a gap-tooth smile, my glasses, my short stature. My gap tooth probably made orthodontist see the dollar signs like crazy! I had what was called a frenum–my upper lip had excess gum, and it created a gap and some of the gum hung between my teeth. Trust me, it was as pleasant as it sounds. When I got my braces as a teen, we were able to have access to an ortho-surgeon who fixed it all. It was great, but a tough surgery to go through. It was a painful, long recovery.
Fast forward 20 years, and my son is now the proud owner of a genetic gift of having the exact same issue. He had trouble latching for breastfeeding. Immediately after discussing this with the hospital lactation consultant and doctor, we were referred to a local dentist who help take care of lip ties. Mommas, they use lasers now! I was floored, and very happy for my son he didn’t have to have the same delicate, invasive surgeries I did. (I was also a little jealous too, as it was way easier.)
We had the consult, and they did the procedure right then. He had a stage 4 tie, which is out of 4, so he had been really struggling. We weren’t allowed back during the procedure, which I thankfully knew ahead of time, because otherwise I would have freaked out about handing off my 2 week old to a stranger. I still hated it, but at least I had time to mentally prep for it. The procedure took less than 5 minutes and most of that time was taking photos for his file. He was grumpy, but as soon as he nursed again, he was fine. We had two weeks of gum massaging and a check up, and that was it!
He will still need more corrective work in the future, when he has teeth, but he’s already ahead of the curve compared to me.
There’s not many places that take care of lip ties so young, as the technology is very expensive, so many dental offices aren’t able to invest in it yet. But it’s a great to see the improvements and medical advances made in the field in the last 20 years! Lip ties are almost the “trendy thing” to be looking for in infants, but it’s really important to catch early, as it’s easier to treat and may see help babies as they feed. (Full disclosure: I decided to exclusively pump and bottle feed my son, and it turned out to be the right choice since the little man loves his bottles! Now he can feed better on them).