Older children with Tethered-Oral Tissues may be able to compensate but not always effortlessly.
For some children, developmental compensations may appear later in the form of speech disorders, feeding problems, sleep issues and poor development of the mouth.
Children with Tethered-Oral Tissues (TOTs) can often show a delay in speech or speech errors beyond typical development. Some children spend years in speech therapy only to discover that their fluency problems and articulation errors are related to a restricted tongue movement.
TOTs can impact children as they progress to pureed food, cup-drinking, straw-drinking and solid foods. They may have trouble clearing the spoon with the upper lip or closing the lips together to swallow. Sometimes children are referred to feeding specialists because “they refuse to eat”. We were not made to starve but children quickly learn to refuse food in order to survive.
The development of sleep issues, ranging from restless sleep to sleep apnea, are often linked to tongue restrictions and poor tongue posture. When the tongue is sitting down on the floor of the mouth, the upper arch does not have the pressure needed to develop properly. A narrow and high palate reduces the nasal cavity and could potentially cause a patient to develop mouth breathing patterns.
Children with Tethered-Oral Tissues that interfere with proper growth and development can benefit from a revision surgery (release) with a laser and an integrative treatment approach.
Dr. Santos uses Light Scalpel CO2 laser technology - one of the latest, most precise and innovative types of lasers.
CO2 lasers can produce an incision similar to the scalpel without touching the tissue. It allows for less surgical time, minimal bleeding, reduced swelling, pain and discomfort. Your child will be able to feel better within 48 hours after surgery.
Releasing the tissue is not the final solution to these compensations. A team approach with other specialists is necessary in order to help the patient re-establish new patterns, overcome their compensations and fully thrive. Dr. Santos works closely with Lactation Consultants, Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Oral Myofunctional Therapists, Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, Pediatricians and ENT’s to give your child a better chance to succeed.