top of page
kids laser dentistry.jpg


You bet!

We are proud to offer the LTM Precise Diode Laser in our office. Lasers in dentistry provide an amazing tool to help soft tissue dental procedures go more smoothly in a minimally invasive way. With the use of a dental laser the risk of infection, swelling, prolonged healing, and scaring are all greatly reduced. The following section outlines some of the procedures that can be performed with a dental laser. As an Associate Fellow in the World Laser Institute, Dr. Crutchfield is excited to apply laser technology to aid in the overall dental health of his patients!

Tissue removal

When permanent molars begin to grow in through gum tissue they sometimes come in slowly. If this occurs the gum tissue that covers the molar (operculum) can make it difficult to brush or eat. Because of this, cavities can more easily form on the permanent molars. If this tissue does not resolve on its own it can easily be removed with a dental laser. This will aid in hygiene, reduce discomfort, and allow access if a cavity does form.

Soft tissue abnormalities can also be removed easily with a dental laser. An example of this is a mucocele. These usually occur on the lips as a result of trauma. A mucocele forms typically when a saliva duct that has been ruptured does not heal correctly. The duct then swells with fluid. As a result, a “bubble” on the lips can form. A mucocele can resolve on its own but they often do not. A dental laser can be used to remove the mucocele quickly, easily, and safely without the need for sutures and with very little discomfort.

Tongue Ties

Welcome to Dr. Jude's favorite part of his practice! Dr. Jude is passionate about prevention. As a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist, he has devoted his career to catching oral health problems at their early stages to help ensure a lifetime of optimal oral health. For Dr. Jude, no other procedure brings the same level of professional satisfaction as being part of the team that aids in diagnosing and treating tethered oral tissues. Seeing the positive changes that can come from helping a baby grow and thrive through optimal nursing or bottle-feeding is the most rewarding thing ever!

What are Tongue Ties? 


This is a general term that refers to a specific type of tethered oral tissue. Tethered oral tissues occur when the thin membrane either under the tongue, near the lips, or cheeks restricts the normal range of motion. Under the tongue, this thin membrane is also known as the lingual frenulum and if restricted is termed ankyloglossia. About 3-15% of babies are negatively affected by tethered oral tissues and are unable to move their tongues freely. Most tongue ties also involve other oral tethers that add to the dysfunction. Examples of this are lip (labial) and cheek (buccal) ties. Tethered oral tissues if strong enough can combine to cause dysfunction. This can negatively affect a baby's ability to breastfeed and latch correctly. As a result, this can cause nipple pain and trauma, decreased milk intake, and eventually a decline in supply. In children, a tongue tie can contribute to eating difficulties, speech difficulties, and breathing difficulties. In adults it can cause speech difficulties, breathing difficulties, TMJ pain, neck and shoulder pain, and headaches.

How are Tethered Oral Tissues Diagnosed?

In order to diagnose dysfunction, a multidisciplinary approach should be taken. For newborn babies, it is essential to involve a lactation consultant that is well educated in tethered oral tissues and their effect on nursing or bottle feeding. An IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is best equipped to do this. Once a baby has been evaluated and all options explored, an oral tether release may be indicated. If tethered oral tissues are missed or untreated in infancy, they can be diagnosed and treated later in life at any stage of growth and development. 


How are Tethered Oral Tissues Treated?

For all patients, we are proud to offer the most advanced form of treatment available using the Solea CO2 laser. This is a non-contact laser that gently removes tissue with minimal bleeding, discomfort, and scarring. It is the gold standard in soft tissue laser procedures. How we use the Solea laser to complete treatment depends on the patient's age and level of cooperation. All options will be discussed in depth during the consultation phase of treatment. 

What Research Supports Treatment of Tethered Oral Tissues? 


Current studies that are done using large sample size, comparing similar techniques, and are peer-reviewed are your best sources of information. For a look at current studies and a great explanation of the good and bad in them, this website is a great resource:

This article is a great overall source for the importance of catching oral tethers early. It also has a comprehensive list of referenced studies and research. It was also written by one of the most experienced, some consider pioneers, in the field of oral tether releases in a dental setting.


This website is great at giving a comprehensive overview of oral tethers and contains many links to research, data, and websites from a wide range of practitioners involved in the team that addresses and treats oral tethers.


Here are several great links that outline how oral tethers affect growth and development linking them to sleep apnea, jaw growth impairment, ADHD, and other types of dysfunction:

Please don’t hesitate to call our office to inquire more about how laser technology can aid your child’s dental health!

Tongue Ties
bottom of page