Thanks for taking the time to read this. Pediatric dentistry is my passion, but taking care of children on a higher level is my true purpose and lifelong mission.
My entire life, I have served children, and when it comes to dentistry, I have constantly pushed myself to learn and grow as a pediatric dentist.
The short and sweet answer to WHY I am PROVIDING TONGUE/LIP TIE SURGERIES is because the improper position of the tongue in utero and during a newborn/infant/child’s development can result in breastfeeding (latching) issues, possible eating/speech/digestion issues, inadequate upper jaw development (narrow/vaulted upper jaw) and most importantly airway issues!
During my pediatric dentistry residency, I took a special interest in the importance of a thorough airway assessment. Airway assessment is the most important aspect for pediatric dentists who perform Oral Conscious sedation (not all pediatric dentists provide OCS). Providing oral conscious sedation is a skill set I am very grateful for learning during my time in residency because it allows me to help children with MODERATE dental anxiety get through dental treatment (children with mild dental anxiety typically only require nitrous oxide for anxiety management or simply taking time talking to them).
I made the decision after residency to further my knowledge about pediatric airway and pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. This lead me to my education about the importance of proper tongue positioning for overall development of the maxilla (upper jaw) and the improvement of a child’s airway.
Airway assessment, in my opinion, is the most valuable assessment that a pediatrician, ENT, or pediatric dentist can perform for your child. To put it simply, if a child is oxygen deficient, then he or she WILL NOT be able to grow and develop (mentally and physically) to his or her genetic potential.
There are many reasons why a child could be oxygen deficient, but for the nature of this post, I will talk about the role of the tongue and the lingual frenum. For some newborns/infants/children, the lingual frenum tissue prevents the tongue from properly being positioned to the roof of the mouth when they are at rest and sleeping. Proper tongue positioning allows the tongue to act as a scaffold for the roof of the mouth. This is absolutely necessary to allow for optimal horizontal upper jaw growth and increased airway!
I believe a CO2 laser frenectomy should be the gold standard when it comes to post-operative healing for a newborn and children. I personally use the LightScalpel CO2 laser, and I love the results! This procedure is justified for newborns/children who have improper tongue positioning due to a tight lingual frenum- tongue-tied. Improper positioning of the tongue can result in numerous lifelong symptoms for the child beyond the inability to latch/breastfeed as a newborn.
Lastly, I would like to leave you with this very important message: The APPEARANCE of the frenum is not the most important factor. The proper FUNCTION of our oral tissues is the most important factor. Lack of Function is what results in SYMPTOMS for the baby/child/mother.
I hope this message helps you understand where my heart and mind is regarding this controversial topic.
P.S. I am tongue-tied so I can empathize with the speech and airway-breathing issues kids face.
Abhishek Bhaumik, DDS, MS
Board Certified Pediatric Dentist