It’s been a while since my last post. With all the holiday season activities it’s been quite busy. But the main reason I haven’t written is that I just underwent minor surgery. Not just any surgery, but something that I do on a routine basis—a lingual frenulectomy. In other words, I just had my tongue tie cut and released.
The medical term for tongue tie is ankyloglossia. Many people have a band of tissue that tethers the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth in the midline. This prevents proper tongue movement and normal resting posture in the mouth. My condition was mild to moderate in degree and I had no significant effects that I knew of, but since my son was scheduled to undergo this procedure, I decided to have it done as well, just to show him my support.
The procedure was performed by an oral surgeon DDS and MD, in his office. After a topical anesthetic was applied, Novocaine (an anesthetic) was injected. Getting the numbing medication was the most uncomfortable part. Afterwards, he used a CO2 laser to make the cut and remove the thin band of tissue.
Is was a bit rough for the first few days, but by day 5 to 6, I was able to eat normal foods. It’s been about one week since the surgery, and I’m slowly beginning to feel better and better. My speech is still a bit affected, but I can talk relatively normally. I’m now feeling things in my mouth that I could never feel before.
Newborn infants came to me in years past with severe tongue tie, which prevented them from latching on to their mother’s breast. After a simple cut in the office, infants are usually able to latch on and start feeding immediately. It’s a wonderful feeling to see this. Since the tongue is your most important orthodontic appliance, it’ important to have good tongue mobility. Having underdeveloped jaws can lead to dental crowding and sleep-related breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Not all cases of tongue tie should to cut, but if there’s any significant tethering, it’s something to bring up with your doctor. Oftentimes, the younger you are, the easier the recovery. This ended up being the case for my son—he’s healing much faster. Having undergone even this minor procedure is a great reminder for me what my own patients must experience, especially with much more aggressive procedures. Sometimes, a doctor needs a taste of his or her own medicine once in a while.
For a great resource on tongue tie, take a look at this article on Dr. Brian Palmer’s website.