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In brief: Is tongue-tie surgery an easy fix—or unnecessary risk?

Dec. 28, 2023
Learn about an investigation into the "boom" of infant tongue-tie procedures; a dentist alleged to have performed a number of procedures "not humanely possible to achieve" in a single visit; and more.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

Tongue-tie surgery for infants: Easy fix or unnecessary risk?

Amid a “boom” in tongue-tie procedures on infants—which involves making a small cut to the lingual frenulum, usually with the idea to ease breastfeeding—the New York Times interviewed parents, practitioners, and others to investigate the need vs. the risk, noting that “lactation consultants and dentists have aggressively promoted the procedures, even for babies with no signs of genuine tongue-ties and despite a slight risk of serious complications.”

Number of procedures "not humanely possible to achieve"

In a single visit in 2020, a Minnesota dentist is alleged to have performed eight crowns, four root canals, and 20 fillings—work that the patient says in a civil lawsuit has caused her “significant injuries.” While an expert witness for the case did agree with the dentist’s diagnosis that “virtually every tooth” sustained decay, such a situation “required a slow, thoughtful, careful and measured response to her disease” … “trying to fill every hole in every tooth in her mouth in one visit” was “not humanely possible to achieve.”

New COVID variant is quickly the most dominant

A new COVID-19 variant is becoming the most prevalent, but so far its symptoms don’t seem more severe than earlier variants. According to the CDC, JN.1 now accounts for more than 40% of US COVID cases, up from 8% a few weeks ago, and is currently “by far” most prevalent in the Northeast, accounting for more than half of all cases in New York and New Jersey.

ICYMI: How toothbrushing can save lives

Results from a recent study suggest that among its many benefits, regular toothbrushing reduces rates of pneumonia for hospitalized patients. JAMA Internal Medicine published findings from more than 2,700 patients and found that rates of hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP)—pneumonia the patient didn’t have when admitted but picked up during their stay—were lower among patients randomized to daily toothbrushing, particularly among those on mechanical ventilation.

About the Author

Elizabeth S. Leaver | Digital content manager

Elizabeth S. Leaver was the digital content manager for Endeavor Business Media's dental group from 2021-2024. She has a degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston and many years of experience working in niche industries specializing in creating content, editing, content marketing, and publishing digital and magazine content. She lives in the Boston area.