My 3.5 year old has a minor tongue-tie that has not affected him, however needs to be corrected. We have been referred to a paediatric surgeon who has a very good reputation, but there seems to be other options. what is best?
My son is 3.5 years old. he's in great health, has had very good development and is a pleasure to watch grow.
However, he has a mild tongue-tie and we were referred by our GP to a highly regarded Paediatric surgeon who has said while its a very simple operation and takes around 3 minutes, our child will need to go to hospital and go under general anaethetic and it takes a few weeks to recover fully.
I have also read that its possible to have the same operation in a specialist dentist chair where a laser is used - which apparently requires only a mild anaesthetic and is generally pain and bleeding free, less chance of infection with quicker recovery.
Sounds too good to be true.
While i like the sound of my son being looked after by a proper surgeon, i also like the sound of a procedure far less invasive.
Is there any recommended methods?
Also, under both circumstances, he will need to attend speech therapy afterwards, apparently (his speech is clear now). Should we book this now, or will we be directed to an appropriate person by the surgeon?
You raise an interesting question and one which there seems to be two sides to, even in terms of the evidence. If he has had no issues with his speech so far and he hasn't needed speech therapy to this point, I'm wondering why the procedure is necessary now? There are many adults around who have never had this procedure done and for all intents and purposes, where their tongue is anchored to the base of their mouth is not an issue. However, adults can also learn to compensate for their tongue tie depending on the extent of it and their own awareness. This is an interesting link if you've not seen it before: http://www.tonguetie.net/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1 and although this article is a bit dated it still has some interesting information: http://www.kiddsteeth.com/articles/ALDLingualFrenewebsite.pdf
However, if you've had specialist advice and it seems you certainly have then you need to go by this. Surgical treatment for babies is often recommended because of feeding issues and difficulty with breastfeeding but with older kids who've not experienced speech issues, it's generally for potential problems with speech, eating, tooth alignment which are more likely to occur.
There are dentists who specialise in laser frenotomy and the issues with a chair and local anaesthetic procedure compared with a GA are considerable.
I can only suggest that you speak with both practitioners or more until you are 100% satisfied with your decision and what is right for your boy and his individual situation. Sometimes it's worth asking the child themselves what they would prefer. Put in simple terms of course. And it would also be worth speaking with a speech therapist too to see if they have any suggestions regarding optimum outcomes from the procedure. Ask the surgeon who they refer to and the dentist as well and sound them out about your choices.
13 Jul 2014