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Research Articles for Lip/Tongue-Tie Release

As a dentist it's important to have research backed protocols for the materials we use and the way we practice. In regards to the frenectomy procedure, it is no different. While some providers (pediatricians, ENT's) argue the validity of how impactful the procedure it. When it comes down to what the research says, it's hard to understand where the controversy comes from.

I appreciated a message from an aquaintance who is a practicing pediatrician in Nashville. She asked about what the research says and I was able to send her multiple articles. It gave me hope that more of the medicial community is starting to listen and the general population becomes more aware of the negative effects of lip/tongue ties.

Below are several of the articles that I sent her. I will provide a brief overview of each. While this is just a small subset, these are the most recent articles that have been published.

  1. Efficacy of neonatal release of ankyloglossia: a randomized trial:

The conclusion was that there was increase in breastfeeding scores and decreased nipple pain after frenotomy (removal of the tissue under the tongue)

2. Aerophagia Induced Reflux in Breastfeeding Infants With Ankyloglossia and Shortened Maxillary Labial Frenula (Tongue and Lip Tie)

The conclusion was that the treatment of these infants with a relatively simple frenotomy procedure may reduce or eliminate reflux. As a result, many of these infants may be spared from invasive testing or medications that have been shown to have potentially significant side effects. This may change diagnostic and treatment algorithms.

3. Breastfeeding improvement following tongue-tie and lip-tie release: A prospective cohort study

The conclusion was that surgical release of tongue-tie/lip-tie results in significant improvement in breastfeeding outcomes. Improvements occur early (1 week postoperatively) and continue to improve through 1 month postoperatively. Improvements were demonstrated in both infants with classic anterior tongue-tie and less obvious posterior tongue-tie. This study identifies a previously under-recognized patient population that may benefit from surgical intervention if abnormal breastfeeding symptoms exist.

While there are many other studies out there, these are just three that I point others to in order to navigate nipple pain, reflux, and the lesser known posterior tongue tie. It's important to note that not every doctor or dentist is trained in identifying these tethered tissues. In addition, the presence or "look" of a lip or tongue-tie is not a reason in of itself to have a frenectomy done. It's important to have a thorough evaluation by a trained provider and only then, with a team of IBCLC, DC, OT, etc, move forward with the procedure.

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