Dr. Lawrence A. Kotlow, known for his criteria for limiting tongue and lip ties, came to Copenhagen at the end of May. Liset Maas-Houtekamer and Berry Verlinden from OMFT.info attended his lecture. A valuable day for them, in which they were strengthened in their vision.

Kotlow is a pediatric dentist from Albany, New York. In Copenhagen he gave a full-day lecture entitled ‘SOS 4 Tots’. In this lecture he told the international group of attendees about his daily practice. A practice in which he treats many newborn babies with too short lip ties and/or a too short tongue ties.

Problems with breastfeeding

Before he starts treatment, an intake takes place with both parents. The baby is present. During this conversation, he wants to get clear what is going on and what the consequences are for all members of the family. Breastfeeding should be nice, but unfortunately this can be cruelly disrupted because of a too short tongue tie and/or too short lip ties. Breastfeeding can then cause painful breasts for the mother, by clamping the nipple instead of sucking. Problems can also arise with the baby itself. Breastfeeding can lead to blisters on the lip, reflux-like symptoms, or a decrease in body weight (because the baby does not get enough food).

Problems at a later age

Not only babies can experience complaints. The skeletal development of growing children can also be disturbed by a too tight a tongue tie and/or too short lip ties. This can lead to postural problems, abnormal mouth habits, incorrect swallowing, dental developmental disorders, sleep apnea and pronunciation problems (addental or interdental speaking). For this reason, prematurely intervention is very important. Given the development of the child and his or her future health, it is important to correct the problem within the first three months of life. The problems with drinking from a bottle are generally less, but even then a child may have difficulty drinking. Action is necessary to prevent problems later in life.

Correct tongue ties and lip ties

A frenulectomy by means of laser or electrosurgery is relatively simple. If this procedure is performed properly and the correct treatment is carried out, the health benefit will be considerable. Dr. Lawrence A. Kotlow uses a CO2 laser in his practice. With this laser he can correct lip and tongue ties nicely. Post-treatment by stretching (2 to 4 weeks after the procedure) is of great importance to prevent relapse.

During the lecture, videos were shown about the research, treatment and after-treatment in the practice of dr. Lawrence Kotlow. He pays a lot of attention to explanation to the parents and instructions for the post-laser period.

Kotlow has been ‘fighting’ for years to bring attention to the effect of laser treatment on the further course of (breast) feeding and the development of the child. Unfortunately, like many other dentists and OMFT speech therapists present at the lecture, he is struggling with little understanding and cooperation from (other) specialists. All those present during the lecture received his book: ‘SOS For Tots’ (Tethred Oral Tissues – Tonge-Ties & Lip-Ties). The book for Liset Maas-Houtekamer was meaningfully signed with: “Dear Liset, thank you for your support!”.


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