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Frenectomy/ dental and speech problems

Japan With Kids - Forums: Health Topics: Frenectomy/ dental and speech problems
By shikokumom on Thursday, June 29, 2006 - 11:02 pm:

I'm new here and I just had a baby.

My son is tongue-tied - that thin vertical
membrane connecting your tongue to the
underside of your tongue is too tight(it's
called a lingual frenulum). This means that
he can't stick his tongue out far enough
and when he does it forms a heart shape.
There's also the same kind of membrane
connecting your upper lip to the upper
part of your gums (labial frenulum). His
connects straight down to the bottom of
his upper gum. When he breastfeeds, his
bottom lip curls inwards.
He was having difficulty breastfeeding and
I was in a lot of pain in the beginning so I
was told to bottlefeed.
Then we noticed the tongue-tie. When we
brought it up, they said that it was okay
and that I can get nipple shields to help
etc etc.
This condition can easily be fixed with a
procedure called frenectomy.

We've been to a few doctors already and
they said that the proceedure isn't done /
isn't common in Japan.

I'm wondering if this is just because we
live in a fairly rural area of Japan and that
doctors here aren't as experienced with
this sort of thing.

He's gaining weight, though I still
supplement with a bottle every once in a
while and I'd rather not. But the tongue-tie
can potentially cause dental problems and
speech problems.

As for the the upper lip/gum, his lips curl
under when he feeds - both with bottle
and breast and when he starts growing
teeth, he's going to have a gap between
his front teeth. From there, a slew of
potential dental problems can happen as
well as speech problems.

I've never been to Tokyo and I don't know
what it's like out there but here in the
inaka, there are so many people with really
bad teeth. I'm also an English teacher and
now that I've learned about oral
frenulums, I've discovered that many of
my students who have pronunciation
difficulties (not to mention bad teeth) have
this condition.

I was wondering if anyone can recommend
an oral surgeon and or pediatrician who
can and has experience with frenectomies.
I'm really worried because the tongue-tie
can easily be done but the upper/gum will
require surgery and if this is not a
common procedure in Japan, there
probably won't be anyone who will be able
to do it. Our baby is 6 weeks old and we'd
like to have this procedure done right
away. We're still looking around here in
Shikoku for a doctor/oral surgeon who can
do it but since the procedure is going to
be done on an infant, we figured it's going
to be pretty slim finding one with
experience or one willing to do it.
We're hoping that someone in Tokyo or
any other big city in the mainland will be
able to help us out.

Thank you in advance for your help/


By Nancy on Thursday, June 29, 2006 - 11:19 pm:


I posted this for someone who was looking for an oral surgeon. I have no idea if Dr. Seto will treat an infant but do contact him all the same as he may be able to put you in touch with someone who can.

By Nancy on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 07:17 pm:

Tsurumi University Dental School has a division of Oral and Maxillofacial implantology.;}.
Professor Seto speaks English, German and Japanese. Good luck!

By Blue Sky on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 1:53 am:

For the most comprehensive collection of information about breastfeeding a baby with tongue tie, see this link
As a Lactation Consultant here in Japan, I have heard the whole range of stories, from midwives in Japan that will clip the frenulum in all babies as a matter of course, to doctors who disagree that a tongue tie can interfere with breastfeeding! Please feel free to contact me off list and I will see if there is anyone in the Japanese Association of Lactation Consutants who may be able to guide you to a reputable doctor for an assessment.

Iona Macnab IBCLC[at]

By Shikokumom on Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 8:35 pm:

Dear all,
Thank you so much for all your help -
both on and off this mailing list.
It is quite overwhelming to have this kind
of support and I am so grateful to all the
people who have responded - including
offers for a place to stay should we need
to go to Tokyo for a specialist.
We've taken our baby to an oral surgeon
and he told us not to worry as the
condition isn't all that severe. Our baby is
nursing well with no need for a bottle
supplement and is growing like a weed.
His upper lip doesn't flange out as much
but is certainly much better than before. I
guess in our situation, a "wait and see"
approach is probably best.
We will most likely be going to NA next
year and we will take him to a specialist
there for an assessment.
Once again, thank you for all your kind


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