Modulation of tongue, lip and cheek bands – minimally invasive and gentle with the CO2 laser

The procedure with the CO2 laser takes only a few seconds and the benefits of treating oral restrictions will last a lifetime.

Restrictions due to a tongue or lip band that is too short

The tongue band is what attaches the lower part of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. In around 10 per cent of newborns the tongue band in the front and/or rear part of the tongue is fused and too short (frenulum linguae breve/ankyloglossia). The sooner the tied tongue is released, the more favourably the child can develop naturally overall. This is because the tongue’s manoeuvrability is responsible for breastfeeding, the complex swallowing process, breathing freely, the development of speech and sounds and much more besides.

A lip band that is too short or thick may also impede breastfeeding. The lip bands (frenulum labii superioris/ inferioris) attach the upper and lower lip to the jawbone and are positioned in the middle between the central incisors of the upper and lower jaw. In infants, a lip frenulum that is too short (frenulum labii superioris breve) may result in a lack of vacuum, which can make breastfeeding extremely difficult. In many young people, a lip band that is too short or thick is responsible for a gap in the teeth (diastema mediale superior) between the upper central incisors, which is often severed in order to enable the gap in the front teeth to be closed in an aesthetically pleasing way.

How will I recognise the restrictions?

Indications that a baby’s tongue band is too short are a discontented baby that wants to breastfeed at all times of the day and night, and makes snapping or clicking sounds when drinking and suffers from colic, gas or reflux. Snoring and an open mouth as well as slight or considerable weight gain, and restlessness at night due to the child’s sleep apnoea may also be signs of a lip band that is too short.

For the mother, her baby’s tied tongue may lead to severe pain when breastfeeding, deformed, sore and bleeding nipples, breast infections, mastitis, vasospasmus and even the formation of abscesses. Incomplete emptying of the breast, milk congestion, obstruction of milk production, a decrease in milk flow can also be indications of restricted tongue function.

The child’s efforts to compensate for a tongue band that is too short may result in the restrictions only becoming noticed and recognised as the child is growing up. If children and adolescents have problems with swallowing, breathing or speaking, gagging, tension or poor posture, these may be the result of a tied tongue. The development of the teeth, palate and midface are also crucially dependent on the correct position and function of a tongue that is freely movable. The modulation and separation of the tongue band may therefore be worthwhile even in infants or older children and adolescents.

Download: Does my child have a tongue band that is too short?

The advantages of the CO2 laser

The treatment of oral restrictions with the ultra-modern CO2 laser means the minimally invasive and gentle modulation and separation of the tongue band, lip band or cheek bands.

This procedure takes only a few seconds and is very precise and painless. The super-pulsed CO2 laser ensures very little blood loss, so no stitches are usually required. Due to the absence of bleeding, it is possible to gain a good view in the operating area and achieve complete separation of the anterior and posterior shortened tongue bands. Good wound healing and minimal scarring are also among the benefits of this ultra-modern technique.

This conservative procedure is not normally covered by the health insurance funds.

Therapy process

Everything begins with an accurate diagnosis

To start with, a thorough clinical examination of the mouth is carried out, which is documented and then discussed in detail. If oral restrictions (shortened tongue, lip or cheek bands) have been detected, a joint discussion is held on how these can be resolved and the therapy is explained in detail. We explain to you and practise active wound management (in accordance with Dr Darius Moghtader, Tongue Band Centre, Oppenheim), in order to maintain effectively the mobility you have achieved after the treatment.

And then

The procedure with the CO2 laser only takes a few seconds – the advantages of a manoeuvrable tongue and the associated prevention of any restrictions such as mouth breathing, snoring, reflux, problems with pronunciation, restricted lip motor skills and many more will be yours to enjoy for the rest of your life.

To support us in the treatment, our junior patients are provided with inhalation sedation with nitrous oxide and general anaesthetic if required.

The interaction of breastfeeding and lactation consultants IBCLC, midwives, speech therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, myofunctional therapists – before and after the frenotomy – can help many breastfeeding mothers and their children achieve physiological and effective nursing within the interdisciplinary network and are crucial for the effectiveness of our therapy.