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Tongue-tie In Babies and Treatment Options
What is tongue-tie?
Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition where the band of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too short or tight. This makes the tongue unable to move freely in the mouth. This is sometimes called ‘anchored tongue.’
Tongue-tie is a common condition. Between two and 10 out of every 100 babies are born with tongue-tie. For some babies, tongue-tie causes problems with feeding. If tongue-tie is causing feeding problems, you may want to have a specialist from our tongue-tie clinic check your baby’s mouth.
What will the specialist do?
One of our specially trained Seattle Children’s nurses or doctors (such as Cheryl White), called a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) or Neonatologist, will check your baby’s mouth and suggest a plan for treatment. They may recommend a release of the band of tissue (lingual frenulum). This is called a frenotomy. Or they may suggest other feeding plans.
How do I know if this procedure is right for my baby?
We will only recommend a procedure when we believe it will help mom and her baby. At this time, we only do this procedure for babies three months or younger.
How is frenotomy done?
We will swaddle your baby and put a little sweet liquid (oral sucrose) in baby’s mouth. This helps prevent pain and gives comfort. Then we snip the band of tissue with special scissors. It only takes a few minutes, and babies usually handle the procedure quite well, as there aren’t very many nerve endings in this tissue. Most babies just have a drop of blood. You may soothe your baby by breastfeeding or bottle-feeding right away. Your specially trained nurse will review after-care instructions with you. Mouth tissue heals quickly, so these instructions will include movement exercises to keep the band of tissue from growing back.
Understanding procedure fees for frenotomy
Please note that there are two sets of charges for the frenotomy. Seattle Children’s will bill your baby’s insurance provider for the evaluation, assessment and procedure (profession bill). CHI Franciscan Lactation Consultants from St. Joseph Medical Center will bill your baby’s insurance provider for the facility charge (use of clinic space, equipment, sterilization and teaching time for nursing).
Please check on your insurance benefits with your baby’s insurance plan before the evaluation and procedure. Your baby’s insurance company may need to approve this first (pre-authorization). Please ask your baby’s insurance provider if you have questions about co-pays, deductibles and any amounts that you will have to pay. Thank you for your understanding.
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