A Dentist, Lactation Consultant, and a Midwife walk into a bar...

Ok, so maybe not a bar. They did walk into a procedure room together. I’m sure you never thought you would see a Dentist, Midwife, and Lactation Consultant in the same room for the same cause, but it happened on February 26, 2016.

These professionals came together for one reason. To learn more about lip and tongue ties.

Dr. Alex Hamilton and I set aside time to put together an opportunity for local professionals to learn about lip and tongue ties, and how they can cause issues with breastfeeding, and can lead to dental issues if they aren’t properly monitored and addressed. We’ve learned that the best way to spread awareness about something, is to educate others.

By providing others with information, they can take what they have learned, and share that information so others learn from their experience.

With the consent of the patient’s mother, she allowed everyone to observe the examination, and revision of her daughters lip and tongue tie. Dr. Hamilton started by showing how the lip restriction can create issues in holding down the lip. This can create the inability for a baby to open wide and get a good deep latch. If a baby has a shallow latch, it can cause the baby to not be able to effectively remove milk from the breast. This can lead to decrease in milk supply since it doesn’t allow for maximum stimulation to the breast for the supply and demand our bodies need to make milk.

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He then shows how he assess for tongue ties. There are anterior tongue ties (which you can see visually), and there are posterior tongue ties (which you need to raise the base of the tongue to see and also may need to palpate for). Tongue ties can create issues in breastfeeding by having restriction to where the baby is unable to fully extend the tongue underneath the breast. This gets in the way because if the baby can’t extend the tongue to cup under the breast, they are unable to stay latched properly and air can get trapped causing colic and reflux like symptoms. There are a lot of physicians who will tell mothers tongue ties don’t affect breastfeeding, but we have learned that is untrue. The tongue is an important part of breastfeeding, so you want someone who will properly examine the tongue and discuss the best options with revising the tongue if it is needed.

Now that you some basics on how LT/TT can cause issues, let’s talk about the how the revision went. He explained the procedure to everyone and how the laser works in revising the lip and the tongue. We swaddled our precious little patient in a Woombie Swaddle so she was nice and snug. Dr. Hamilton’s dental assistant,Toni, took the baby and placed her in her lap and her head in Dr. Hamilton’s lap.

He began the procedure and he used a Gopro camera he linked to his IPad so we could all watch a little closer. The procedure was quick and our little patient did a wonderful job. Once she was handed back to her mom, she was immediately happy. Her mother sat down in the chair, and laid back and nursed her baby. With a room full of lactation professionals she was happy to let everyone take a look at her baby’s latch. It was a perfect latch! She was overjoyed that she wasn’t feeling pain. That is why we have these resources in place. Mothers and their babies reaching their breastfeeding goals, that’s what it’s all about.

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Once the baby finished eating Dr. Hamilton went more in depth on the laser he uses. With this laser he doesn’t have to apply topical or inject anything to numb the baby’s mouth or tongue. The laser he uses allows for pain free dentistry, which I think is really cool. He demonstrated it by touching it to some of our arms to let us see for ourselves. Up first was Millie Goins, IBCLC. I took a short video of her experience that is shown down below. Next, Sarita Hendrix, CLC.  They were both impressed with the fact that the laser wasn’t painful. We discussed other procedures he does with the laser and learned a lot about the unique care this laser allows him to provide.

    Dr. Alex Hamilton and Millie Goins, IBCLC

   Dr. Alex Hamilton and Millie Goins, IBCLC

    Dr. Alex Hamilton and Sarita Hendrix, CLC

   Dr. Alex Hamilton and Sarita Hendrix, CLC

We wrapped everything up and learned a lot about how we can all share these resources throughout our community. We know that we can all work together to get families to a physician when they need revisions and we can get them right back to the professionals they were working with previously in order to keep these mothers and babies feeling fully supported. I for one am so glad we have so many amazing lactation professionals and midwives who want to learn more in order to support their clients. More than anything, Riverfront Doulas is proud to work with Dr. Alex Hamilton and his staff at Hamilton Family Dentistry.  

Authored By: Sondra Rodocker