What is a Tongue Tie?
If your child or baby has an unusually thick, short or tight band of tissue between the bottom of their tongue and the floor of their mouth, they likely have a tongue tie. This tissue band (known as the lingual frenulum) can restrict the tongue’s movement. Consequently, it can affect speech and make functions like breastfeeding difficult.
How do Our Osteopaths Treat Tongue Ties?
Our Practitioners manage tongue and lip tie patients. We perform very gentle treatment on the muscles around the face and neck before and after tongue and lip tie releases. We treat tongue tie patients of all ages (predominantly babies). Our osteopaths refer all patients requiring tongue and lip tie release procedures to Enhance Dentistry in Milton. We never perform manipulation (cracking) on babies or children. Babies and children are only treated with very gentle techniques.
Our Journey with tongue ties
Joachim first became interested in tongue and lip ties when his eldest son Eric was born in 2014. Eric was a good-natured, blue-eyed baby. But from the day he came home from the hospital, he struggled to breastfeed. His mother, Melissa, felt intense pain every time she tried to feed him. Both mother and baby found this incredibly distressing. Eric wasn’t gaining weight and his feeding issues were affecting the entire family.
A worried Joachim and Melissa took Eric to a dentist when he was 6 weeks old. His dentist diagnosed him with tongue and lip ties. At eight weeks old, Eric’s dentist cut his tongue tie. He also lasered Eric’s lips at the same time. The procedure made some difference to Eric, but it didn’t resolve his feeding issues. Melissa expressed milk for the following 10 months. This was a big effort on her part, but not an ideal outcome.
Finding Out More…
After seeing the distress and pain his wife and son experienced, Joachim began researching diagnosis and treatment options for tongue and lip ties. The tongue is a muscle. When one muscle isn’t functioning properly, the surrounding muscles compensate, changing their function. Joachim recognised gentle osteopathic treatment could help restore correct functionality to the tongue and the surrounding muscles, before and after tongue tie procedures.
When Joachim and Melissa’s second son Alex was born in 2019, he was tongue tie diagnosed by a child health nurse. His tongue tie was lasered when he was 8 days old at Enhance Dentistry. After the procedure, Joachim applied his skills as an osteopath and his knowledge about tongue tie to gently treat the muscles around Alex’s face and neck.
The combined laser treatment (at Enhance Dentistry) and gentle osteopathy made an incredible difference to Alex. He started feeding normally and gaining weight at a significantly higher rate than the normal curve. In stark contrast to her experience with Eric, Melissa’s breastfeeding pain disappeared within a few weeks. She found she could breastfeed Alex comfortably and without pain.
Joachim didn’t realise he suffered from tongue and lip ties himself until after Eric’s diagnosis. Up until that point, he hadn’t liked the way his speech sounded. Joachim chose to have his tongue and lip ties lasered. This was partly so he could better understand what patients went through. Since this procedure, Joachim has noticed an improvement in his speech which has made a difference in his life as an adult.