Talk me out of my crazy

I recently found a pediatric dentist locally. I had been unable to locate one and having done a bit of snooping around thought that I, without a referral to a local specialist, which I have been unable to obtain, would have to fly to the other island in a day trip to pay a private visit to a laser dentist (the only one in the country). So I’d more or less resigned myself to not knowing what our issue was until I was having another baby. With my experiences previously I’ve become more than a little gun-shy in terms of talking to professionals.

After my midwives failure to refer me, being turned away by my doctor four separate times, no resolution from the lactation consultants I was able to see it seemed easier to just let it go for a bit. Sure, every so often I got up the nerve to ask for help again, but much less lately. Having to steel myself for whatever news may follow only to be turned away just for asking left me afraid to even ask. I haven’t really thought much about it in close to six months. Not since I asked my health nurse about pediatric dentists to deal with a potential lip tie tooth gap (which did not manifest thankfully) and she wouldn’t give me any names because it wasn’t a ‘serious issue’ . At this point, without laser dentistry any tongue or lip tie clip is a general anaesthesia operation anyhow, and as our breastfeeding relationship has essentially approached normal, we don’t technically need the operation any more. I had thought of flying up north and getting it done via laser when she was older, but it’s no longer critical. But now faced with a name and a phone number, seriously it’s stuck up near my computer where I can squint thoughtfully at it, I’m feeling apprehensive and worried.

I haven’t even decided to call yet. I mean, she (the dentist is a she) may not have expertise in that area, may not want to do a consultation just to check (which I’ve decided is what I want right now), or may do the consultation and decide there’s nothing there. So then do I trust the opinion, do I still doubt, do I accept that it was me after all? My head is swimming with what-ifs that won’t go away unless I rebury my head in the sand or go for it and make that call.

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  1. Is this about the lip tie or a tongue tie or both? I genuinely believe that anyone is capable of diagnosing an issue on their own, without a medical professional. It’s just that a medical professional has to agree and then know how to properly do the procedure. For what it’s worth, I have a friend who took her 18 month old in to have his tongue tie finally clipped and he didn’t require anesthesia. If it’s not causing any problems, and I really mean NO problems, then I would allow the tie to stretch on its own (or do exercises) and re-evaluate as she continues to develop. If it is causing any problems at all, and you can afford the procedure, get it done.

    • It’s more the knowing aspect. The main answer I’ve gotten is ‘that just happens sometimes’ which irritates me on several levels. I can’t say that if there is a tongue/lip tie that is it or is not causing issues now. She does talk but being 15 months old it’s still indistinct. She can breastfeed, but seems to take a while to fully drain the breast, if at all, and it is a bit tooth scrapey. I’m also concerned that I do think she has full mobility of her tongue now, though I know she didn’t always (had a forked tongue tip for a while there when she stuck her tongue out) and the current mobility will hinder the diagnosis. So I guess, in short, I’m afraid of being turned away yet again with no answers.

  2. But you can diagnose it yourself and KNOW the answer. Just because a medical professional doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean they’re right. Doctors are every day people too, they just go through a lot of extra college to learn the intricasies of the body. Things like tongue tie, or breastfeeding, or even nutrition, are not “basics”. If they don’t want to take the extra steps to learn about it, from the same exact resources you can utilize, they aren’t going to know any better than you. Don’t allow those people to have that power over your peace of mind – their opinions, educated or not, are not worth more than your gut instinct.

    My best guess is that she is still tied. As far as diagnosing the amount of difficulty, if she can’t stick her tongue completely out of her mouth and touch her chin or come close to the nose, blow raspberries and eat food like a champ, it’s still causing problems. Her ability to breastfeed is a little harder because if she hasn’t always been feeding correctly, her mouth muscles probably aren’t trained to move correctly and even if the tie is released, she could continue having those problems. I think you need to find your conviction and go through with it. Just be adamant and flat out ask “Why would you refuse the procedure if it’s not going to hurt anything but has the potential to help significantly?”

    Also, the “that just happens sometimes” is a load of crap. I did find this comment about ties, though I don’t know how much truth to it there is. However I do believe it’s an abnormality, not a fluke or variation of normal. “Tongue-tie is a midline issue, connected with spina bifida. While I can’t say for sure that it isn’t linked to vitamin A deficiency, it’s more likely linked to a folate deficiency. Even if you’re taking your prenatal vitamins (perhaps especially if you’re taking the typical synthetic vitamins) you could have a relatively common genetic mutation (MTHFR) that causes folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, to be unusable in the body. So if you took your vitamins and ate lots of fortified foods you would actually be deficient.”

  3. See, I know I should make the call. I will do it. Just need to work myself up to it. The ‘that just happens sometimes’ was told to me by various professionals about my apparent low supply. It was a complete brush off phrase. We see that there is a problem, but oh well, type of thing. Tongue tie wasn’t on anyone’s radar at all as she could extend her tongue over her lower gums at birth (which I now know isn’t a good diagnostic measure). I didn’t even cotton on to it until 8-9 months when she finally became able to hold a latch herself without me having to hold the breast in her mouth. I mean, I knew about anterior tongue tie and even a bit about posterior, but I naively thought no nipple damage/pain, it’s ok (though I had had persistent compression lines and severe cracking and damage early on). I’d asked about that, her inability to hold a latch, to several LC’s but they all kind of raised their eyebrows and then shrugged. Even now, while her tongue comes out it still looks like a stretch and it doesn’t go up and out of her mouth near her nose.
    I’m fairly sure she got it from me, so it’s less of a spontaneous mutation. I was slightly premature, quite unplanned, and though probably somewhat breastfed, I was low birth weight, so who knows how long that lasted. Being barely 5lbs in the 1970’s I doubt very long. My mother goes on about how I had colic and horrific reflux, and even as an adult I’ve had issues with an imperfectly sealing epiglottis causing me to suck air into my stomach. Wasn’t until I read about gastrointestinal issues being connected with tongue tie that everything clicked into place.

  4. That is so interesting about your stomach! I’d like to add that to my list of potential complications. Will you post about the results of the appointment once you get up to doing it?

  5. Minor outcome: I spent all day playing phone tag with the other, regular, dentist at the practice. The pediatric dentist is only in on Thursdays. So I’ll call back then. However, after talking to the regular dentist he gave me his quick and dirty ‘does this tongue tie need cut’ descriptor. One I haven’t encountered before. He repeated the if the tongue doesn’t come out the frenulum is too short, but also said that if the tongue comes out, yet can only point down (which hers, and mine to some extent, does) then he calls it a tooth tie and likes to cut those as well. He verbally wowed at me describing her tongue fork. But overall said, talk to the expert about whether you need this one cut now or can wait, who will be in on Thursday. So feeling a bit positive about that.


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