Baby Talk

14 May 2007 . Posted by Cameron in Smile Stories

When Alita Parry called us asking if we had a dental laser, the young mum was thrilled to discover we did indeed. Alita then went on to explain that her 10-month old baby Thomas was ‘tongue-tied’ – the tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth was too tight, restricting the free movement of the tongue.

This meant the baby boy was unable to poke out his tongue, and, more to the point, unable to breastfeed. Left untreated, the condition would also result in speech problems and poor development and positioning of the teeth as Thomas grew.

You may be surprised to know this condition isn’t uncommon, with research suggesting three to four per cent of babies are born tonguetied. Dentists and oral surgeons regularly perform a procedure to correct the problem, removing the restrictive tissue to enable full movement of the tongue for correct feeding and speech.

However, the procedure typically requires anaesthetic. To make matters worse, Alita was told there was a two-year waiting list to have the procedure performed in hospital.

So she started casting around for a second opinion, wondering if a dental laser could provide a solution. We assured her that, yes, it could. 

“The dental laser has revolutionised surgical and tooth preparation
procedures, making life much easier for the dentist and patient alike,”
says Dr Cameron Arnold. “It’s so gentle, most patients report no discomfort whatsoever without anaesthetic. It’s also very precise, so there’s no risk to surrounding tissue. And healing time is reduced considerably. So it’s ideal for performing such a delicate procedure as correcting a tongue-tie on an infant.”

Cameron was able to fix baby Thomas’ tongue-tie quickly and easily, without anaesthetic. And the treatment site healed quickly. Thomas clearly wasn’t in any pain, either during or after the procedure.

“The first thing he did afterwards was poke his tongue out at me,” says Cameron. “It was great to see because he’d never been able to do that before! Needless to say, his mum Alita was very relieved and grateful for the result.”