Dr. Courtney Helps Babies and Families with Tongue Ties

SuNu Wellness is a Trusted Resource for Pediatric Care

There are so many people and services to feature at SuNu. Right now, we’re excited to shine the spotlight on Dr. Courtney. She specializes in pediatric and perinatal chiropractic services and sees patients at our Minnetonka location. Dr. Courtney has additional training and experience with tongue and lip tie. For this, she has become well-known throughout the community as a valued resource to parents and families of newborns and infants, for whom these conditions most commonly affect.

Meet Dr. Courtney

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dr. Courtney for a number of years. As a person, she is witty, kind, fun and someone you always want to be around when/if things get tense. It’s as if she’s who people are describing when they say someone is “calm, cool and collected”. As a doctor, the same rings true. She’s quick, confident, naturally grounding and effortlessly calming.

Dr. Courtney has always loved working with children. If fact, she had planned to become a Pediatrician. But while earning her undergraduate degree, she learned about the affects of chiropractic care for kids. She was fascinated by the testimonials she was hearing. After learning more, as is her nature, she switched her focus from pediatric medicine to pediatric chiropractic instead.

One thing that sets Dr. Courtney apart is her expertise in tethered oral tissues (TOTs), more commonly known as tongue and/or lip tie. SuNu, and specifically Dr. Courtney, have become more well-known throughout the birthing community as a resource to those who suspect, or have been diagnosed to have a baby with a tie, and seek pediatric chiropractic care as a result. It’s a fairly common issue with newborns and can cause, in some cases, a great deal of stress for new parents with regard to feeding, temperament, sleep and more. This is what we focused on in my conversation with Dr. Courtney.

Learning about Tongue Tie with Dr. Courtney

a conversation with Erica Ciardelli & Dr. Courtney Casper

What is a tongue tie?

     Tethered oral tissues refer to the tissues that connect your tongue to the base of your mouth, and your lips and cheeks to your gums. When present, these can cause restrictions within the mouth and down your spine. 

How might this condition affect both a nursing parent and baby? Are there long term effects of a tie if it’s not treated? 

     In a nursing parent, it may show up as painful latching/nursing, low milk supply, clogged ducts, mastitis, or lipstick shaped nipples after nursing. 

     In baby, it can affect their ability to nurse, as well as to gain weight. When the ties are severe, it can result in baby being labeled as “failure to thrive”. If not addressed, some long term effects include delayed speech and speech challenges, sleep apnea, attention disorders, chronic headaches, TMJ, and many more. 

What are some common signs/symptoms in a baby that could indicate a tie?

     Nursing struggles which could look like an inability to latch, pain for the nursing parent, very slow nursing, and latching and unlatching frequently, to name a few. Other symptoms might include slow weight gain or weight loss, frequent spit up, seeming to struggle with gas, sensitive gag reflex, inability for baby to stick their tongue out, a heart-shaped tongue, and so on. Sometimes it is possible to see the tissue causing the restriction, but not always. 

What happens after a tie has been discovered?

       Once I discover a tie, I determine whether it will be possible to make improvements through conservative care including, pediatric chiropractic and craniosacral therapyor if it needs to be revised. Next steps can depend on a parent’s preference as well. The treatment plan is very dependent on the severity of the ties. If there are multiple ties (which is usually the case) I would say a typical treatment plan starts with 6-8 visits over the course of 4-6 weeks. But it is personalized to each individual and based upon the families goals and prefrencesIf the tie appears to be causing moderate to severe restriction or is clearly impacting day to day function, I refer them to a pediatric dentist for revision. 

How do you typically treat ties? What would an appointment for this look/feel like?

     If the tie appears to be mild, I like to start by working on stretching the tissue and ensuring proper alignment in the spine, jaw, and cranial bones. For infants, pediatric chiropractic care often looks like a back massage for baby. The cranial sacral work I do is incredibly gentle. It may not look like I’m making any change, but often parents report their baby is more relaxed, has easier bowel movements, and sleeps well after an appointment.

How do you support the process if a revision is needed? 

     In that case I support the pre- and post revision care for the baby. If I’ve been adjusting the baby regularly, I ask for one visit 24-48 hours before the revision and 2-4 visits after the revision. If the baby has not received any body work prior to scheduling the revision, I like to see them 2-4 times prior. I support the surrounding structures and alignment through chiropractic adjustments and craniosacral therapy. It is very important to remove as many restrictions as possible so that once the revision is performed, the baby is able to function at ease. After the revision, we continue to assess and correct misalignment of the spine, jaw and cranial bones in an effort to aid the healing process and maintain structure and function. 


Schedule with Dr. Courtney

To learn more about Dr. Courtney, SuNu Wellness, or tongue tie, click here. If you’d like to schedule with Dr. Courtney for chiropractic services for you or your family, contact the Minnetonka office for an appointment or a FREE 15 minute in-person or phone consultation.

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