We found out that our son, Mason, had a tongue tie issue the day after he was born. The pediatrician that did his physical check at the hospital told us it was no big deal and nothing for concern, gave us a referral for a pediatric dentist and told us to follow up with our pediatrician as normal. Me, as a first-time birth mom, I wanted to go to our pediatrician first and discuss it before just blindly scheduling an appointment with the dentist.
For those of you who are not familiar, a tongue tie is where the tissue under the tongue is connected too far to the bottom of the mouth and causes a reduction in the ability to move the tongue.
I was familiar with the tongue tie “diagnosis”. My sister and I were both likewise afflicted. My sister had hers corrected and mine was not severe enough to require a correction.
At our initial Pediatrician appointment, our doctor said he wanted to wait and see how the tie affected Mason before we rushed to the correction procedure. OK doc… we are good with that plan. At Mason’s one-year checkup, there was some concern. His first words weren’t really coming and he could barely move his tongue at all. The decision was made to get it taken care of. So, we were off…. Got the referral and made the appointment.
When we got to the appointment, the first step was the evaluation. We met with the dental assistants who explained the process and then the dentist came in. He laid Mason out across both of our laps, opened Mason’s mouth, and used a tongue depressor to lift the tongue and evaluate the severity of the tie. As luck would have it, Mason had the most severe tie possible. Meaning that it was connected all the way to the tip of the tongue. The dentist explained he would use a laser to cut the tie and the process itself would take about 2 minutes tops. He also let me know that they would gently strap Mason onto the dental chair to restrict his arm and body movement. When given the option to stay in the room or leave until the procedure was over. I chose to stay. I could not imagine leaving him alone in a room, strapped to a chair, without me there. This was a personal decision and if you find yourself in this position, please make the decision that is best for you and your child.
They got him all strapped in and ready to go, put some safety goggles on him and began the procedure. This is when it all became real. HE. WAS. NOT. HAPPY. The crying began. Well, I am not going to sugar coat this for ya…. the screaming started. The scared, panicked screams of my little boy were enough to make me break down myself. I just kept rubbing his leg saying, “It’s okay bubby, mommy is here with you.”
A little back story about the procedure itself. In “the old days”, back when I was a kid, the doctor would pull out the scissors right in the office and do it there, now they use a laser to actually cut the tie and it helps with proper healing, less chance of infection and reconnection that way.
The procedure itself took maybe a minute – but to me it felt like an absolute eternity. When they were done, they quickly got Mason up off the chair and into my arms where he clung like a monkey would his mothers back. The hygienist tried to give him a high five for being such a good boy but he wasn’t having any of that. He did get a pretty cool ball on the way out, but he wasn’t too hip on being friends with these people.
We were in and out all in about 25 minutes. We had survived and we were ready to go home. There was no follow up appointment needed unless we noticed anything unusual or had any concerns and the doctor gave me the instructions for his tongue exercises. I forgot to mention that part…. The dreaded tongue exercises. This part may have actually been worse than the procedure itself. THREE TIMES A DAY, for TWO WEEKS, I had to use a tongue depressor to hold his tongue to the roof of his mouth for 10-15 seconds. Any guesses on how well he like that? Ding ding… He absolutely hated it. Each and every time. The exercises are to encourage movement, prevent reconnection, and to help strengthen the muscle itself. They were awful but THEY WORKED!!!
I noticed a difference almost immediately. His whole mouth looked different. The way he smiled was different. We got home, started him on some Tylenol for any discomfort and he was good to go. Luckily, we never had any issues following his procedure and day by day I noticed that little tongue moving more and more. I noticed he ate foods differently, started to stick out his tongue and move his binky around inside his mouth. He could finally move his tongue, something he was unable to do for the first year of his life.
He had the procedure done about 5 weeks ago. Today he is happy as can be, LOVES to stick out his tongue and is talking up a storm….
I had some mom guilt that we waited so long to have it corrected, but at the time we were making the best decisions we could. He’s all good now and that’s all that ever matters to me!
So here’s the deal mamas, it’s a rough thing to have to watch your baby go through, and having to torture him again everyday for 2 weeks is no walk in the park, but now that it’s all over, seeing the progress is simply amazing.