TOTS Laser Frenectomy

About three years ago I started attending continuing education courses that focused on “tongue-ties” and “lips ties.” When I was in dental school and residency (way more years ago than I’m happy to admit!), there wasn’t much taught about the subject of the multitude of potential benefits of frenectomies (the fancy word for tongue tie/lip tie release). There still isn’t that much taught on the subject during the dental school and pediatric dentistry residency programs, from what I am told. Sometimes dental schools and residencies can be a bit behind the times.

That is why I made it a PRIORITY to start attending the highest-quality training across the country with the premier clinicians currently doing the research on this subject as well as providing this care to babies, children, and adults alike.

I always want to make sure that I am providing what I consider THE BEST for my little patients. I don’t want to provide something unnecessary. I’ve never been one to just jump on the latest “fad” bandwagon, whether that be in dentistry or other areas of life. I’m conservative, and cautious, and responsible, and sometimes a “later-adopter” verses early-adopter of things as a result.

After attending over 50 hours of THE BEST training available out there right now for addressing what is called Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTS) – by some of the people who have written the books about this! – I am convicted that evaluating and providing the release of these tight tissues in patients where it is indicated can be potentially LIFE-CHANGING and is consequently something that I no longer can NOT do. 

That is why I made a big investment in receiving all of this training and bringing the most appropriate laser (a CO2 LightScalpal dental laser) into our office to be able to provide release of these tight, constricting tissues for my little patients if/when indicated. I feel we are still a bit “ahead of the game” in being able to provide this much-needed care for some kids. We aim to always be up-to-date at ABC.

I’m proud we will be able to combine our current model of care – COMPASSIONATE dental care for kids – when performing these releases (a.k.a. “frenectomies”). 

I personally know what it is like to have a baby who can’t latch for nursing. I was in tears after two days home from the hospital and not being able to get little Tanner to latch to be able to feed and nourish him. I felt like a failure, and my husband was frustrated, too, as our little boy was hungry but couldn’t eat. A nipple shield finally bridged the gap. If only I had known then that maybe his tight tongue and lip tie played a role. I wonder how much of a difference addressing that could have possibly made on our journey. I’m excited for the chance to help others give their babies a healthier start.

An amazing book we at ABC read on the subject of tongue ties and lips ties is:

 “Tongue Tied” by Richard Baxter. 

It is amazing and mind-blowing the number of issues that have been connected to TOTs and have been resolved with the release of these inappropriately connected tissues. Some of the things that can potentially be related, and consequently the negative effects improved with release, can include:

~nursing difficulties

~painful nursing for moms

~long nursing times

~colicky babies

~speech issues

~breathing/sleep issues (a tight tongue can negatively affect the appropriate development of the roof of the mouth – which is the floor of the nose – thus potentially resulting in breathing/airway issues) 

~attention issues in school due to restless/poor sleep and breathing issues

~picky eating due to difficulty managing food in their mouth with their tight tongue

~cavities on front baby teeth due to difficulty brushing under tight lip

~and so much more!


Check out that book for so much more valuable information including success stories, photos, research, what signs and symptoms to look for, and more! 

If you have concerns with nursing, please speak with a lactation consultant, IBCLC, or SLP and have them evaluate if they feel a tongue tie and/or lip tie release may be beneficial.

If you have concerns with your child’s speech, please work with a speech therapist or myofunctional therapist who has the up-to-date training and the scope of practice to evaluate the function of the tongue and make the appropriate referral for a release.

If you have concerns regarding your child’s picky eating habits, maybe it is not that they are picky; surprisingly, it may be that they are choosing which foods to eat and not eat based upon the limitations of their tongue function. Some foods just may be too challenging for them to eat. Again, consult an occupational therapy, SLP, or myofunctional therapist who has obtained the training to evaluate, work with, and refer for release kids who may benefit from this procedure. There is a lot of great info about this subject in the Tongue Tied book!

We are so excited to begin this next phase of AWESOME care and life-changing experiences we will be able to provide for kids at ABC Pediatric Dentistry.

Please call today to schedule your child’s first visit with us! 605-275-5771