Ask Dr. Ben from Valley Pediatric Dentistry about breastfeeding issues

It may be time to call a pediatric dentist

valley pediatric dentistry, breastfeeding, frenectomy, tongue tie

Breastfeeding provides many benefits for both the mother and baby. However, sometimes there can be underlying medical issues that can prevent successful breastfeeding if not addressed. The first feeding is always a learning experience for both the mother and baby. Although babies are born with a suckling instinct, some infants may have a hard time. We always recommend a lactation consultant be on hand so they can make sure the baby has a proper “latch” or seal of its lips around the nipple.

Tongue-tie or lip tie could be to blame for your breastfeeding struggles
Some babies are born with a tongue-tie which restricts the tongue’s range of motion due to a thick, tight band of tissue that tethers the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Your baby may have difficulty lifting the tongue towards the roof of the mouth, moving it side to side or sticking the tongue out. Additionally, a lip tie can be present. In this case, the frenulum, a piece of tissue behind your upper lip, is thick or too sticky and prevents the lip from flaring out or curling up. If left untreated, this can cause a poor breastfeeding experience for both the baby
and mother.

Some common symptoms of tongue-tie for an infant can be:
  • a poor or shallow latch
  • a clicking sound while nursing
  • gassiness
  • reflux or colic
  • swallowing air
  • inflated tummy or bloating
  • poor weight gain
  • falling asleep while nursing

Symptoms for the mother can include:
  • cracked or creased nipples
  • painful nursing and latching
  • bleeding, abraded or cut nipples
  • plugged ducts
  • mastitis
  • lipstick shaped nipples
  • breast, areola or nipple thrush
  • over or under supply of milk
Long-term effects of tongue-tie can include:
  • speech problems
  • gulping air leading to gassiness
  • sleep apnea
  • snoring
  • narrow dental arches
  • high vaulted palate (roof of mouth)
  • difficulty chewing and swallowing food
  • dental decay on front upper incisors (lip tie)
  • crowded dentition
  • malocclusion
  • symptoms of gastric reflux
  • breathing through mouth instead of nose (leading to a lifetime of poor oxygenation)
  • inability to move tongue for licking ice cream cones and other foods
  • space between two front teeth
  • gum recession
  • head and neck postural problems that lead to pain in the neck and back
  • headaches

How can a pediatric dentist help?
At Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we use the LightScalpel CO2 Laser system for our newborn and pediatric patients with tongue-tie or lip tie. This laser procedure offers many benefits over the traditional surgical method including minimized bleeding, less swelling and discomfort, reduced risk of infections, shortened procedure time and an overall smoother recovery.
Shortly after the procedure, your child should be able to breastfeed with ease!   

3630 Hill Blvd., Ste. 101, Jefferson Valley
1557 Rte. 82, Ste. 2, Hopewell Junction

valley pediatric dentistry, breastfeeding, frenectomy, tongue tie
Dr. Benjamin Dancygier is the founder and CEO of Valley Pediatric Dentistry, with offices in Jefferson Valley and Hopewell Junction.  He has created a practice based on his core beliefs and values. Dr. Ben has been delivering outstanding pediatric dentistry since 1999.