New clinic for battling babies

NEW START: One of the newly opened tongue-tie clinic’s first little patients, Harry Claassen, with mom Vera, Dr Cameron McIntosh and Dr Lenee Castelyn  Picture: MARK WEST
NEW START: One of the newly opened tongue-tie clinic’s first little patients, Harry Claassen, with mom Vera, Dr Cameron McIntosh and Dr
Lenee Castelyn
Picture: MARK WEST

Bay doctors open first-ever facility to correct tongue-ties

Two Port Elizabeth doctors opened the first tongue-tie clinic in the country at Greenacres Hospital yesterday. Ear, nose and throat specialist Dr Cameron McIntosh and dentist Dr Lenee Castelyn will run the clinic, the first of its kind, based at Netcare Greenacres Hospital.

A tongue-tie is a congenital anomaly. In babies born with a tongue-tie, the tip of the tongue cannot protrude beyond the lower incisor teeth.

It is estimated that this defect affects 4-11% of newborn babies and varies in degree from a mild form in which the tongue is bound only by a thin mucous membrane, to a severe form in which the tongue is completely fused to the floor of the mouth.

McIntosh said that normally doctors only fixed tongue-ties when children were six months old or older.

“When Lenee Castelyn came to see me to explain why it should be done earlier, I said: ‘Let’s just do it’.”

Castelyn, who also practices as a dentist in the department of maxillofacial surgery at Livingstone Hospital, said she became interested in fixing tongue-ties specifically as it impacted on babies’ ability to breast feed.

About 45% of babies with tongueties experienced feeding difficulties.

“Moms who bottle feed their babies won’t notice this,” she said.

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