Our family has been talking for a while about whether or not we were going to have his tongue tie released, and the appointment to talk to the dentist was made after our son said he wanted it done because it hurt to stick his tongue out too far. After talking through the procedure with the dentist, our son decided that he wanted to go ahead. The dentist started by putting some numbing gel under his tongue, and then due to his age, put in some local anaesthetic (this was the worst part because of course, it stings a bit. For babies, no local anaesthetic is needed). Once the anaesthetic was in, he felt nothing, and the actual procedure (called frenotomy or frenectomy, depending on the procedure) literally took seconds. The dentist we saw used an electrocautery tool, but it can also be done with special scissors, or by laser. There was a little bleeding afterwards that was easily controlled with some pressure on it (for babies, there is usually only a drop or two of blood, and nursing immediately after the procedure is a great way to stop any bleeding).
Healing on day two. It looks good, and with frequent exercises, no adhesions are forming.
The morning after the procedure he was a little tender under his tongue, but the discomfort was easily managed with some ibuprofen. It has been really interesting to be able to hear from my son about the experience. The morning after he said that he felt like he couldn’t stick his tongue out. This tells me that already some adhesions were starting to form (the area was basically starting to heal back together). This can happen with babies too, and it is why it is so important to do exercises after the release to prevent reattachment and the need to do the procedure again. With an 8-year-old it’s easy because he can follow directions and he thinks it’s fun to stick his tongue out at mum and dad.
There are exercises that can be done with babies as well, and your lactation consultant/doctor/dentist or whoever you are working with should provide you with information on this. By the time he went to school the morning after, we had done some exercises and the area had stretched out again. In the picture of him sticking his tongue out the morning after, you can see that there is still dimpling of his tongue when he sticks it out. I am finding that his ability to extend his tongue (stick it out) is slowly improving with the exercises we are doing. It will take time because he’s had 8 years of adapting to the restricted movement of his tongue, and now we have to work on overcoming those adaptations.
Overall the experience has been a positive one for our son. He was so excited to go to school the next morning and tell his friends all about it!
Two weeks after the procedure, my son can stick his tongue out much further (without it hurting!) and the dimpling in the tip of his tongue is almost gone.