Tongue tie?

posterior tongue tie surgery

Does your child have a tongue tie? Do you need a tongue tie surgery?

Tongue tie treatment can be very simple if the right tools are available. We use the very best laser on the market to treat our tongue ties, the Solea CO2 laser.

What is a tongue tie?

A tongue tie is a layman’s term for ankylogloassia, which means fixed tongue. Many people have a tongue tie to some degree and most adapt to it to some degree as well. A posterior tongue tie is one that attaches to the tip of the tongue and is the most likely to require surgical intervention. A tongue tie may interfere with breast feeding in infants, speech, eating in children and adults, or just be plain bothersome to an adult or older child.

Posterior tongue tie pre surgery
A posterior tongue tie on a child, notice how the tip of the tongue connects to the back side of the jaw.

What are the tongue tie treatment options?

Removal of the tongue tie is the only real treatment. We use a laser as the cutting of the Solea laser is very precise and clean. The old-fashion scissors are just as effective but there is more bleeding with that method, so in more extensive cases the surgical field becomes more difficult to deal with during surgery.

Why is the Solea the very best laser on the market for tongue tie treatments?

It is the fastest most powerful laser on the market. There are other CO2 lasers that arguably work as well for soft tissue procedures but the Solea has more options and is the only laser in it’s wavelength category. It is also by far the most expensive. The expense makes it an uncommon laser, there are only 6 in all of Illinois as of 2019. It does cut both hard and soft tissue and is capable of a lot of different surgical procedures as seen in on our laser dentistry page.

Posterior tongue tie surgery before and after results
Posterior tongue tie surgery before and after results on a child. Notice how much farther the tongue is able to move. Before photos on top and after photos on the bottom.

Tongue tie surgery for adults

The adult tongue tie is a very simple procedure but the recovery causes more soreness and the impact on speech is more evident. Ultimately speech will improve after a tongue tie for an adult. However, adults take longer to re-learn certain sounds. Most patients re-adapt very quickly on their own but all can benefit from a speech pathologist and we always recommend you at least consider this option.

Tongue tie surgery for kids

The tongue tie surgery for children is a quick procedure with our Solea laser. Children often only need Tylenol for the first day or two and are then back very close to normal. We do recommend that you take your child to a speech pathologist after treatment to ensure their speech recovers and improves quickly. Depending on the severity this is not always necessary. However, many children we see already have a speech pathologist and that is the one that ultimately recommends coming to see us to the parent.

Before and after photo of a minor child tongue tie surgery
Great example of a minor tongue tie surgery on a child.

Tongue tie surgery for an infant

This is a topic all of it’s own and we have a page with all the information you need to know about infants here.

What is the tongue tie surgery recovery time like?

This is different for adults, kids, and babies, because the younger we are the faster we heal. Therefore, for infants there is no apparent issues. However, for kids there is mild pain for usually a day or two and for adults there will be soreness for closer to a week. The pain is not intense but is noticeable, ibuprofen ot Tylenol is all that we use to manage the pain.

Frenotomy  vs Frenuloplasty

The difference comes down to the severity of the tongue tie. The frenotomy is treatment done with a simple cut or pass with the laser. A frenuloplasty is deeper and more extensive tissue release with some suturing. From a patients perspective there is not a lot of difference, although the more extensive one has more pain for an adult.

What does tongue tie surgery cost?

The cost varies on the severity of the case, so whether a frenotomy or frenuloplasty is done. If you have dental insurance it will pay for a portion of the surgery, but we have to check your policy to know the percentage. Our fee is $711 for the frenotomy and $895 for the frenuloplasty in 2019.

Who does the tongue tie release treatment in our office?

Dr. Mark White, a board certified pediatric dentist, and Dr. Bryan Bauer both do tongue tie surgeries. Dr. White is the only one that sees infants and Dr. Bryan is the only one that sees adults but both will treat children. To hear more about your options you can call to set up a consult with either doctor. The consults typically take only a few minutes and there are times that we are able to do the procedure the same day. If you are traveling from farther away and want same day treatment just mention this when calling.