After discovering my son was tongue tied, I found out that I was too. Although I had been able to nurse as an infant with undiagnosed ties (unlike my son), I developed symptoms as I grew up, including my first migraine at 4 and half years old. As I got older, the migraines become much more frequent until the point I had several every week by the time I was 40. When I finally found out about the tongue tie and its probable influence on my migraines, I decided to get it revised.
Through the Tongue Tie Babies Support Group, I made contact with Michale Fetzik and Dr Stephen Fetzik.
Michale worked with me prior to the revision to strengthen the facial muscles impacted by the tongue tie.
It is so true that you don’t know what you don’t know.
There were exercises I couldn’t do because the muscles were weak due to the compensation around the tongue tie. Then I went for a Frenectomy. I was surprised at how nervous I was about the procedure and greatly appreciated the support that Michale provided during the revision. It was unnerving to hear snapping sounds and realize that was the restrictive tissue being cut through with the laser. It has been several months since the revision, and while I have had a few migraines, the reduction in frequency has been huge—less than one a month.
I have not had that few migraines since before I was a teenager.
Now I am being treated effectively with an effective TMJ appliance and will soon get the corrective orthodontics I have needed for some time. Only now, my teeth will be straightened with my airway and jaw relationship as a priority, not just cosmetics.
Thank you, Dr. Fetzik and Michale
Breastfeeding Relationship Saved
My oldest child (now 3) had a tongue tie that was diagnosed (and clipped) a few days after birth, solving our many nursing problems. When my second was born, I knew to ask immediately for them to inspect his mouth – no tie. I had two more lactation consultants check him before we left the hospital, and they both agreed – no tie, and a great latch to boot!
A week after being discharged, nursing was still very uncomfortable. Another week passed, and it was actually getting worse! Back to the lactation clinic we went. I asked again about tongue-tie, and the staff insisted that he was “just a biter” and that he had a small mouth – both of which would be outgrown. At a Well-Child exam, our doctor agreed – no tie. He was gaining weight well and had a sufficient number of wet and dirty diapers.
By the time he was 6 weeks old, nursing was excruciating. I hated it. I was angry. I fought through each feeding in tears, painfully trying to get his tummy full and knowing that his reflux would just send most of it back up. Every “suck” was a bite, and I could tell he was just as frustrated as I was – pulling off the breast, choking, sputtering, losing suction. Knowing I couldn’t continue this way much longer, to the internet I went. I started with my most trusted blog (laugh if you want!) and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was it the newborn fog that had kept me from seeing what was SO OBVIOUS??? A health/nutrition blog I’ve followed for years was my starting place for correcting some tooth enamel erosion issues we’d begun seeing in my 3-year-old due to her upper lip tie. LIP TIE! Why had I not considered this with my son? One quick peek in his mouth, and I could see that his upper frenulum attached all the way at the bottom of his gum line. I continued to read the article only to discover that there are many different classes of tongue and lip tie, from “mild” to “severe”. Ties of the tongue can also be “anterior” (obvious to the eye, like my daughter’s) or posterior (not as visible and needing palpitation to properly diagnose). Commence “I Told You So” dancing! All of our symptoms (painful breastfeeding, reflux, long & laborious nursing sessions which produced little satisfaction for my son) could be explained by these ties.
Providentially, we had an appointment scheduled with Fetzik Dentistry for my 3-year-old’s first cleaning. I had already begun work to remineralize her top two front teeth – a problem stemming from her upper lip tie (though it was not entirely to blame). We brought along our 9 week-old baby and they were happy to look inside his mouth, as well. It took about 5 seconds for Dr. Fetzik and his wife Michale (a oral myofunctional therapist and RN) to confirm my suspicions. We immediately made an appointment for my son to undergo a frenectomy by laser.
The procedure itself took only a few minutes. I was able to hold him and nurse in the office right away. Michale was available via Facebook to answer any questions I had during recovery, as well as to coach me in our exercises and stretches. The first change was my comfort during feedings. Now I cried every time he ate because the pain was gone! 48 hours post-op was another big turning point for us…no more reflux! As he gained proficiency as the breast, his “bite” turned into a suck. His tongue was finally free to move! He didn’t lose suction at the breast because his lip could flange and keep his mouth locked, and his mouth didn’t have to let go and latch on again with each bite. He was no longer swallowing air, which had caused his food to come back up after each feeding. His little tummy GOT full and STAYED full. Our nursing sessions dropped from 30-45 minutes to 10-15 minutes. Our lives were changed!
I could not be more thankful for the team at Fetzik Dentistry. Their knowledge and expertise saved my nursing relationship with my son, who is now 9 months old and still exclusively breastfed. Even though I am “just” a mom, they listened to me when I said that something was wrong with my child. They supported me in every possible way as we worked together (and it IS A PROCESS!) to fix it. They support the decisions I’ve made for my family regarding our dental health and have happily come alongside me to do whatever they can to help!
I previously mentioned my daughter’s issues with her teeth due to an undiagnosed lip tie. She will have her lip and tongue ties fully corrected by laser this year, but in the meantime I have been working through diet and supplementation to remineralize her teeth – something that many dentists believe cannot be done. She was losing enamel and had developed yellow stains which quickly turned to yellow pits. Our diet is very healthy and she has a number of food allergies that keep her from eating processed foods – and yet her teeth were in the early signs of decay!
I was afraid to take her to our long-time dentist for fear that I would be lectured on how candy is bad (she’d never had a single piece) and I had neglected her oral health (we brushed twice daily). I made the decision to switch our whole family to Fetzik Dentistry at this point. They know there is never just ONE way to solve a problem, and I suspected that my attempts to heal my daughter’s teeth without fluoride would, at the very least, not be openly ridiculed. I was thrilled to find out that my primary resource, Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel, was not new to them! Listing off everything I was doing to heal my daughters teeth, the hygienist nodded and smiled, saying that she believed I was on the right track and to bring my daughter back in for a check-up in a few months to see what kind of progress had been made. I am happy to report that the yellow pits have begun to turn white and are not as deep as they were 8 months ago. Having the laser procedure will only further aid our efforts, because the top lip will no longer trap saliva, food and drinks on her top teeth. It is a long, long process and will take time, but I am incredibly thankful that the philosophy at Dr. Fetzik’s office is health – through both treatment AND prevention. Instead of slapping a band-aid on our problems, they assisted us in searching for answers for our children and committing to healing, even though it may not have been the fastest or most lucrative approach. Their office is family friendly (my son sat on my lap and played during my cleaning – that is, when he wasn’t being snuggled by sweet office staff members!), and they are kind, caring people. They are constantly learning new approaches and expanding their knowledge base in order to offer the best and most innovative care to their patients. They respect the rights and decisions of parents, and make a trip to the dentist FUN for little ones! My daughter is always asking if we can go to Dr. Fetzik’s office now, and she’s heartbroken if we drive by and don’t stop J Many thanks to Dr. Steve, Michale, and the rest of the team at Fetzik Dentistry!
Read Allie's Story
Sleeping Better Than Ever!
Breastfeeding My Tongue-Tied Baby: A Story of Encouragement and Hope
Breastfeeding My Tongue-Tied Baby: A Story of Encouragement and Hope
Our story begins in October 2013 when Claire was born a healthy 8 pounds and 20 inches. As a registered dietitian, I knew how important breastfeeding is, and I was excited for a long-term breastfeeding relationship. But our breastfeeding started off difficult from the very first feeding. Each feeding session was long, with a painful and shallow latch that had me almost in tears. Soon I had bleeding, scabs and fire-like pain when she latched on. I knew something was wrong, and I knew tongue ties, along with lip ties, could negatively impact breastfeeding. When I asked the pediatricians on call at the hospital to assess for tongue tie, both said Claire was “fine.”
At the hospital, we continued to struggle with feedings and my milk was delayed coming in. So we went home with a supplemental nursing system (SNS), formula supplementation and a pumping schedule. Though I was discouraged about Claire receiving formula, I assumed that my bountiful milk supply would come in any day now. Breastfeeding would “work” for us… I just had to be patient.
In the following weeks, I worked with a lactation consultant (LC) in my goal of exclusively breastfeeding, and I finally got into an ENT who listened to our problems. I explained that most feedings I would cry due to the pain, sometimes not even being able to finish the feeding. Claire also favored one side, and for the first 2 weeks, I could rarely get her to latch on the left side. If she did take that side, it still felt like piercing daggers or fire. After his assessment, he diagnosed her with an “anterior tongue tie” and it was clipped when she was around 2.5-3 weeks old.
Still, we continued having to supplement with about 10-16 ounces of formula per day. In addition, Claire had constipation, colic, cradle cap, green stools, poor sleep and lots of GAS. Several of these symptoms seemed to mimic those of dairy intolerance. So I tried a dairy-free diet and switched to Alimentum formula, which I thought provided some improvement.
Now, fast forward to April 2014, when Claire was around 6 months old. She was still not “thriving” due to the poor sleep, colic and constant gas. I was too tired to do anything but feed her and take care of a few things around the house. One night my husband asked me, “Is it supposed to be this hard? She isn’t even a newborn anymore.”
We sat on the couch brainstorming what the major issues were. He brought up that it seemed every time she woke up at night it was from gas. I then thought about all her feedings. I logged them over the next few days and realized that I was nursing her 15-18 times per day, and she frequently fell asleep while feeding. I was so sleep deprived that I didn’t even realize what was going on, as I was sticking with “feed on demand” to keep up my milk supply. I also had continual plugged ducts, thrush three times and continued low milk supply, while Claire was chewing at the nipples, bobbing at the breast and had slow weight gain. She also still had a fairly shallow and leaky latch, resulting in swallowing air and dribbling milk from the sides of her mouth during breastfeeding and while taking a bottle.
I called my LC again about our symptoms. She called me back with very interesting information. A newly available article explained about the presence of a posterior tongue tie that might often accompany an anterior tongue tie. She went through a checklist of symptoms in mom and baby – and we had them all! Claire and I went back to the LC for another evaluation. There was a visible lip tie that kept her from properly flanging her lip out, and a suspected posterior tongue tie since she previously had the anterior tie clipped.
After our appointment, I then researched my options for laser tongue tie release providers. After making calls to many dental offices, I was able to speak at length with Michale Fetzik, a Registered Nurse and Oral Myofunctional Therapist at Fetzik Dentistry. She was very kind and thorough in explaining the pre- and post-frenectomy process. It was the first time I had talked to a health professional who really understood how we had suffered the last few months, and gave us hope in being able to address our issues. I sent photos and set up an appointment for evaluation and likely laser treatment for the next month.
Once we arrived at Fetzik Dentistry for evaluation, my suspicions were confirmed. Claire had a class 4 upper lip tie and submucosal lingual posterior tongue tie. All of the symptoms now made sense, as they were connected to tongue and lip tie! The laser frenectomy and lip tie procedure took less than 5 minutes. She was placed in my arms just a few minutes later and latched on immediately. I could tell a difference! The shallow, leaky latch was gone, and she was able to eat with a stronger force (to better transfer milk).
Recovery went fairly smoothly for us, and her latch continued to improve considerably. She slept better than usual that first night, and only seemed to need pain medication for about 36 hours. Within a week, her horrible gas issues were gone and my milk production increased. I was able to decrease my formula supplementation by about 75%. There were some days she didn’t even want the supplement bottle. I was so encouraged! I couldn’t believe that I was almost exclusively breastfeeding after all the months of struggle.
Over the following months there were small changes in her latch related to teething and growth spurts, but I felt freed from the constant worry about her breastfeeding. Around 9 months old, I began to realize we were still having some major issues with her sleep, constipation and easy overstimulation that weren’t improving with age. A few examples are that her hands would shake when I would change her clothes or put her in the car seat. She took 20- to 30-minute naps, only twice a day, and would wake up at 4am and not go back to sleep! We made a trip back to see Michale for craniosacral fascial therapy (CFT) and Dr. Robin Henderson for chiropractic care. We hoped to address some likely nervous system issues related to poor digestion, chronic poor sleep and birth trauma. That step has been a game changer for us. I can’t stress enough the importance of quality body work.
Watching Michale complete therapy sessions with Claire was amazing. I never realized how many restrictions Claire had (for example, she wouldn’t lift one of her arms past a certain point above her head). Michale was able to explain the importance of the neural pulse and how the cerebral spinal fluid’s movement affects proper signaling throughout the body. I feel that addressing the restrictions resulting from being tongue tied, as well as improving the neural pulse, has provided such improvement for proper sensory integration for Claire.
We immediately noticed a change in her digestion and elimination. Also, her latch became the strongest and most effective I had ever felt! My milk supply has continued to increase due to continued improvement in latch and milk transfer. We are now exclusively breastfeeding!
We were also able to integrate a consistent daily schedule to help structure eat, play and naptimes. We knew it was important in her recovery process to receive longer stretches of restorative sleep. Post-CFT and with just one night of starting our gentle sleep training, she was sleeping better! I no longer had to feed her over and over again during the night to put her back to sleep. Within a few days we went from an average of 8-9 hours of sleep per day (including naps) to around 15 hours a day! I honestly still can’t believe just how little sleep she was getting.
Having addressed the deep tensions and restrictions in her body and nervous system issues, we continued to notice amazing changes in Claire. She no longer was shaking and becoming overly stimulated by normal daily events. Her tantrums stopped almost completely. She was less distracted at nursing sessions and ate well. Her focus during play and reading activities increased. Several new teeth started coming in, and the dreaded “teething” didn’t seem to cause her any issues.
Restoring a peaceful and pain-free breastfeeding relationship and increased sleep time for Claire has made me feel like a new mom. We can’t believe the changes over the last 2 months since Claire completed treatment with Michale. She is the happiest and sweetest baby you’ll ever meet. Taking the steps to provide what our daughter needed has improved things for our entire family. I no longer worry at every feeding, naptime or bedtime about how it is going to go. We spend more time living and less time worrying. I’m sure every new mom could agree with me that this is so important, as the first year goes so quickly.
Having such an amazing and helpful tongue tie treatment team has changed our lives. They kept us motivated and supported when I didn’t think there was any hope. We connected with the Fetzik Dentistry team at a critical time. The laser tie procedure and CFT sessions is what allowed our story to come full circle.
I would highly encourage any parents with an infant or child still struggling with issues post-frenectomy to seek out CFT and myofascial release from Michale. For most babies, just completing the frenectomy is not the end of the story. Listen to your mom instincts if you think something is still not right. I never gave up asking questions and staying in touch with Michale to ask for help. Over the last year of working with many health professionals and body work practitioners, it is a testament that we travel 2½ hours from home to receive care at Fetzik Dentistry – the Fetzik team is the best. They are not only knowledgeable and experienced, but truly passionate and invested in helping your family. Our family will be forever grateful for the life-changing care we have received over the last year.
Breastfeeding One Year!
"Today we are celebrating our little Malachi's one year birthday! And I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your care and help in the months surrounding his tie revision. We have been able to exclusively breast feed this whole year and that would not have happened without the expertise of you and your team! Thanks for what you do- it makes such a difference!
Malachi is doing so, so well- still breastfeeding like a champ and eating most solids that we put in front of him. :)" April 2015
Photo Gallery All Photos Property of Fetzik Dentistry and are not for use.
Fetzik Dentistry 2548 N Maize Court Suite 100 Wichita, Kansas 67205