(Procedures are, however, done only at the Glendale and Chandler locations.)
● Consults are done in a holistic manner and include a symptomatic and anatomical diagnosis of tongue/lip tie by one of our certified pediatric nurse practitioners or Dr. Agarwal.
● Your child will be thoroughly examined with additional attention to the structure and function of the oral cavity including the characteristics of the tongue and lip; attachment of the frenulae; muscular tightness; a midline assessment of the spine and diaper area.
● Family history of tongue-tie will be noted.
● Feeding history and difficulties will be thoroughly reviewed.
● Breastfeeding difficulties will be noted including information from your IBCLC.
It is best to work with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and/or Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), because they can assess your infant’s suck and show you exercises specific to your infant or older child.
● Start when your child is in a quiet alert state or early active alert state.
●Talk in a pleasant voice, smile, sing, laugh, and make eye contact with your child so this is playful and reassuring for them.
● Try to do the exercises 3-5 times a day before a procedure.
●Be sure to start with clean, well-rinsed hands!
● If your infant fails to respond or looks away, they are telling you they want to be done, and this should be respected. If your infant becomes distressed or upset, please respect their cues and stop the exercises.
●Make sure to provide comfort and console them.
● Upper lip stretches: Place pad of index finger along the philtrum and follow the boundaries of the lip towards the chin. It will look like you are drawing a mustache on your infant's face and can become a fun activity. Please use slow and long movements with firm pressure. Fast movement with very light touch can sometimes create more aversion.
●Follow the Finger: Slide pinky or index finger along the lower gums, massaging from one side to the other, encouraging the tongue to follow your finger from side to side with the tongue. Repeat 3 or 4 times. As you do this, use your thumb to support your hand and the baby’s jaw to increase stability.
● Some infants with a high or 'bubble' palate resist a deep latch because they have a hyper-sensitive gag reflex that is provoked much closer to the front of the palate than usual gag reflexes. Systematically desensitizing can be helpful.
● After stroking the upper lip, when the infant opens their mouth, the index finger is gently slid back along the hard palate (roof of the mouth). Start by massaging the palate near the gum line (immediately behind where their teeth would erupt). Progressively massage deeper but avoid gagging the infant. Repeat the exercise until they will allow a finger to touch the palate while sucking on a finger. It may take several days of short exercise sessions to be effective.
● Tug-o-War: Touch the philtrum or upper lip to encourage them to open wide. When they do, slide your index finger in their mouth, pad up, gently stroke palate, then flip over and apply gentle pressure while stroking from the back of the tongue to the front of the tongue. While your infant sucks and you press down on their tongue slightly, gently play tug-o-war, pulling your finger out slightly. The response should be to suck harder on your finger and pull it back in. This can be especially helpful just before the infant feeds since it helps them learn proper tongue movement for breastfeeding.
● You can also do this with a narrow, cylindrical shaped pacifier, like the Soothie brand. Cylindrical shaped pacifiers help the tongue. Gently pull it back out – just until you feel resistance as the infant sucks harder, trying to hold on. You may need to support their jaw a little as they learn to use their tongue more effectively.