Approximately 10% of children are born with frenum restriction, sometimes known as tongue-tie or lip-tie. Lip and tongue ties are very frequent in babies, and if they are present, they should be addressed to avoid problems with feeding, speech, and oral development. Fortunately, our pediatric dentists can complete the frenectomy and release the tongue with minimum bleeding and healing time, thanks to the use of a laser.
What is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure in which we remove one or both frenums from the mouth. The frenum is a connective tissue layer that connects one mouth surface to another. The frenum can be overly short, tight, or inflexible in certain circumstances. The restricted movement makes it difficult to do everyday functions such as eating and conversing, and it also generates gaps in the smile.
Types of Frenectomy
There are three types of frenectomy that we perform here at our pediatric dental office in Princeton, NJ.
Lingual Frenum: The lingual frenum is a small band of tissue that runs vertically from the tongue to the bottom of the mouth.
Labial Frenum: Above the top two front teeth and below the bottom two front teeth is the labial frenum, which is a connective webbing that connects the lips to the gums.
Buccal Frenum: The buccal frenum is made up of three tissue strands that link the gums to the insides of the cheeks.
Signs and Symptoms of Tongue-tie
You may require a frenectomy for a variety of reasons. The term "tongue-tied" refers to a child who has this issue. Parents and caregivers may notice the following symptoms if the condition is not treated until the kid reaches the toddler years:
- The tongue's mobility is restricted, making breastfeeding more difficult
- Difficulty pushing the tongue out
- Difficulty pulling the tongue up or moving it from side to side
- When the tongue is pushed out, it appears notched or heart-shaped
- Having trouble latching on when breastfeeding
- The inability to open one's mouth fully has an impact on speaking and eating habits
- Inability to effectively speak when speaking quickly, loudly, or softly
- Jaws clicking
- Jaw discomfort
- Lower jaw protrusion, also known as inferior prognathism, is a condition in which the lower jaws protrude
Laser Frenectomy Procedure
If you or your child is experiencing the adverse effects of an extended frenulum, we may recommend a frenectomy as a long-term solution. The connective tissue between the tip of your child's tongue and the bottom of their mouth is cut with a laser by our pediatric dentists. The tongue will no longer be tethered to the bottom of your child's mouth.
The laser cauterizes as it cuts to lessen discomfort, bleeding, and recuperation time. You won't be able to stay in the room during tongue-tie surgery for your own safety. (We must comply with laser safety regulations.) However, you can rest easy knowing that the tongue tie process takes only 1 to 2 minutes.
After the tongue tie treatment, you'll need to take your child home to heal under your care. Following the surgery, we will give you instructions on caring for and cleaning the area properly. To prevent the frenulum from reattaching after tongue-tie laser surgery, gently stretch your child's lips and tongue. It's typical for the soft tissue where we freed the tongue tie to be light yellow or white. The tissue will take some time to mend and revert to its original pink color.
Frenectomy in Princeton, NJ
Our dentists do tongue-tie surgery so that babies' oral development is normal. If you have any questions about frenectomies or if this is a service that might be appropriate for you or your kid, please get in touch with us to schedule a consultation. Please don't put off getting help; the sooner you get it, the better.