Breastfeeding Troubles? This might help . . .

If you are experiencing problems with breastfeeding, ankyloglossia could be the problem, and Dr. Ellen Im could have the solution. Ankyloglossia, also known as tongue-tie, is a condition present at birth that can restrict movement of the tongue and lead to difficulties with breastfeeding.

Tongue-tied babies have a short frenum – the band of tissue underneath the tongue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. Normally, the tongue tip should be able to extend to lick the lips, lift the front half of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, and sweep along the gums. If a tongue-tied baby tries to extend the tongue, it may not be able to extend past the lower lip making breastfeeding difficult. A severe tongue-tie will prevent the baby from getting the tongue tip over the lower gum ridge. The presence of the tongue over the gum ridge inhibits the baby’s bite reflex. If the breast touches the bare lower gum the baby will reflexively bite. A similar condition known as lip-tied restricts the movement of the upper lip when a short frenum connects the lip to the gums.

Both conditions can make breastfeeding difficult because baby has trouble sucking. If you are experiencing improper latching, sore nipples, and decreased milk production, Dr. Ellen Im, a pediatric dentist in Poway, welcomes you to visit her office for a complimentary consult.

A mother’s milk supply is replenished only by vigorous sucking, which empties the breast,” says Dr. Im. “If the baby cannot suck correctly, the milk supply is not renewed, leading to frustration and problems for both mother and child. When the issue turns out to be ankyloglossia, a simple and quick treatment called a frenectomy to free the tongue can help.”

Dr. Im uses laser frenectomy to treat tongue-tied infants. “This quick and usually painless procedure involves minimal to no bleeding, no sutures, and a low risk of infection,” says Dr. Im. Further, recovery from the frenectomy is fast, usually within a day or two. After treatment, parents must follow a set of simple exercises to help prevent reattachment of the frenum.

Dr. Im is the mother of three and prides herself on providing quality pediatric dentistry with a mother’s touch. Her North County office is located on Pomerado Road and offers convenient Saturday appointments. For more information and to schedule your complimentary consultation, please contact her friendly staff at 858.679.6660 or at


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