1 of 4
2 of 4
3 of 4
4 of 4
Tongue tie refers to a condition present from birth. A short tight band of tissue tethers the tongue or lip, restricting oral movement and can affect how a child eats, speaks, and initially can present as a challenging interference with breastfeeding. For a breastfeeding mother, the struggle is an exhausting one. It can affect sleep, leave the baby fussy and the struggling mom can end up in a world of pain, making bonding difficult and limit breastfeeding success. Long considered by physicians to be a minor complication that requires no action, the tides are turning as breastfeeding advocacy increases, and functional medicine takes center stage.
Corpus Christi is blessed to have a physician devoted to tongue and lip ties and whose practice revolves on simple reversals with a small hand-held laser. For Dr. Brodeur, forming her revolutionary practice was a daunting one. As a new mom herself, married to an Emergency Department Resident, she knew that this was her true calling. Through persistence and her own passion, Infant Dental Center opened its doors in November of 2014. Since then, over 250 babies have enjoyed the freedom of a tongue tie reversal. This education and empowerment of the mother is the heart of Dr. Brodeur’s practice.
As a graduate of University of Maryland, and in dental residency at John’s Hopkins, Dr. Brodeur discovered an intriguing draw to the medically complex patients with oral complications due to cardiac health, trauma, and oral cancers. As a dental medical student, she foresaw that she might not find true fulfillment in a traditional dental practice for the next 40 years. It was her experience with tongue tie in her firstborn son, Gabriel, that gave her personal insight into the true pain and emotional distress that such a simple condition caused. During an evaluation of a breastfeeding support group she found more than half of the babies had tongue ties. It was that group’s lactation consultant who first planted the seed for a dental practice devoted to tie-reversal.
In forming Infant Dental Center, Dr. Brodeur had a very specific vision in mind. Her primary goal was to make the experience as personal as possible. Her office suite speaks to airy comfort with its trendy décor and soothing aromatherapy. This intentionally calms her clients and allows them to focus on their baby. Parents are invited to be a part of the 4-minute-long procedure if they choose. Baby is swaddled immobile and fitted with cute little protective goggles before the laser treatment; a topical analgesic is administered. Dr. Brodeur gently talks each tiny patient through the short 4-minute procedure with a soft, motherly tone. A small spoon-like instrument holds the tongue or lips back for the laser. Recovery is typically a week’s time before fully healing.
Dr. Brodeur hopes to begin expanding the practice to older patients over time, especially children or even adults in speech therapies or who have ties that could lead to breathing complications. Low brain oxygenation can lead to ADHD, focus issues, nutrition issues, and a host of health issues. Research is growing in how vast the effects of tongue tie reversals are in shifting each patient’s future quality of life. All in all, Dr. Brodeur’s main concern is in educating families and especially local physicians.
Above all, Dr. Brodeur considers herself an advocate for empowered motherhood, encouraging her clients to always follow their gut instincts and pursue their child’s health needs to the fullest.