A frenectomy is an oral surgical procedure where a doctor snips the frenum, or connective tissue membrane, in order to loosen or release the bands of tissue causing restriction of the lip or tongue. The procedure is simple, safe and effective with minimal aftercare. It’s recommended for infants and children with tongue or lip ties, and is most helpful in allowing infants and nursing mothers to feed more comfortably. Schedule an appointment today at Desert Kids Dental in Las Vegas!
Tongue ties occur in 4-11% of newborns.
First, a consultation is necessary to determine if your child requires a frenectomy. You’ll discuss your concerns and experiences with the doctor and your child will receive an oral exam. If it is determined that treatment is needed, then we work with your pediatrician to make sure your child is medically cleared for the procedure. We may recommend you work with an IBCLC lactation consult or craniosacral therapist as well.
We recommend your child takes Tylenol thirty minutes prior to the procedure. Bringing your baby hungry to the appointment will encourage them to breastfeed immediately following the surgery. The treatment is quick, lasting only about 5 minutes, and your baby will be swaddled with laser goggles on throughout the entire appointment. While we complete the operation, you will be in the waiting area during the procedure.
There are many tools that can be used to snip the frenulum, such as lasers or scissors. Your doctor will discuss available options during the consultation, but in any case, the frenulum can be snipped in seconds. A laser minimizes bleeding and discomfort, and encourages faster healing.
With a laser frenectomy, there is no need for stitches or sutures. Proper aftercare includes stretches of the lip or tongue about every 6 hours to ensure that the frenulum heals properly and does not reattach. We will evaluate your child one week after the appointment to make sure that healing is normal and that there is no re-attachment of the frenulum.
A lingual frenectomy is used to treat tongue ties. Tongue ties, also called “ankyloglossia,” occur when the lingual frenulum is overdeveloped. The lingual frenulum is the band of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
When the lingual frenulum is overdeveloped, your child may not be able to move their tongue properly, leading to issues with breastfeeding, chewing, and proper speech. In a lingual frenectomy, this band is snipped to ensure the tongue can move freely.
A maxillary frenectomy is performed to remove lip ties. The frenulum between the upper gums and upper lip can become overdeveloped, causing issues with proper lip movement, and even causing diastema (a gap between the front teeth). In this procedure, the frenulum will be snipped to restore proper movement of the lips, and restore your child’s oral health.
At Desert Kids Dental, we use the Biolase Epic X soft tissue laser to perform infant frenectomies. This reduces bleeding, swelling, inflammation, and the risk of infection. Using a laser as opposed to traditional scalpel results in faster healing, no pain, and no need for anesthetic or sutures!
This makes frenectomies as minimally invasive as possible. This is because no cutting is required. Instead, the laser vaporizes the soft tissue with light energy and air, eliminating pain and reducing damage. Laser frenectomies put your child at a reduced likelihood of developing an infection because lasers sterilize the area and promote faster healing.
Ankyloglossia, or tongue tie, is more common in boys than in girls.
Tongue and lip ties are collectively known as “tethered oral tissues” or TOTs. They occur when the bands of tissue that connect the tongue or the lips to the mouth become overdeveloped to the point that proper mouth movement is restricted.
They are uncommon in infants and toddlers, and sometimes do not need treatment. Minor tongue and lip ties may not cause any feeding problems, or contribute to speech impediments.
However, serious tongue and lip ties can make it hard for your child to breastfeed or use a bottle properly, resulting in poor feeding and inadequate nutrition. If you think that your child is having trouble feeding because of tongue or lip ties, you should get help from a Las Vegas pediatric dentist right away.
Feeding problems are the most common signs of tongue and lip ties. Your child’s lips and tongue need to be able to move properly to latch onto the nipple and stimulate it for proper feeding. If they seem to be having trouble making a proper seal, milk dribbles out from their mouth while feeding, or they frequently stop and start feeding, they may be having latching issues due to tongue or lip ties.
You can also look for visual signs of tongue and lip ties. For the lips, you can fold back your child’s upper lip and look at the frenulum. If it is difficult to lift the lip or it seems like your baby is unable to move their upper lip on their own, they may have a lip tie.
Signs of tongue ties include an inability for your child to stick their tongue out past their front teeth, or problems moving the tongue from side to side. Tongue ties can also be identified visually. A common sign of tongue ties is a “heart-shaped” tongue. When your child sticks their tongue out, the restriction caused by the tongue tie may cause it to look “notched” or heart-shaped, instead of appearing as a smooth “U” shape.
Not at all. We use special tools at our office to eliminate pain and discomfort. With laser dentistry, your child will experience minimal bleeding, and they will be able to recover from tongue or lip tie treatment quickly and with low levels of post-operative discomfort.
A frenectomy will typically be covered by dental insurance, so you can get your child the care they need without worrying about high out-of-pocket expenses. Even if you do not have insurance, the cost of a frenectomy is quite low. Insurance plans vary, so make sure you consult with your dental insurance company to make sure your child is covered for their treatment.
To care for the surgical site, you will need to clean the treatment area twice a day to prevent infection and keep it healthy. Your child’s dentist may also recommend some stretches for the tongue and/or lips. These stretches will help ensure that when the frenulum heals, it will not reattach and restrict your child’s oral range of motion. Follow the instructions given to you and make sure you regularly perform all stretches recommended to you by your child’s dentist.
Frenectomies are usually identified in infants and young children before they grow older, so the treatment is primarily done on younger children. However, it’s not exclusively provided to infants and young children. Older kids, teenagers, or even adults who have tongue or lip ties may be able to benefit from treatment with a frenectomy if they have serious tongue or lip ties.
Tongue and lip ties restrict movement in the tongue and lips. Children with tongue ties often have difficulty with breastfeeding and lip ties prevent a child from lifting their top lift.
As a consequence, when these problems are left untreated, it can lead to mouth breathing, TMJ, teeth grinding, sleep apnea, enlarged tonsils & adenoids which can cause breathing difficulties, snoring, sleep and concentration difficulties, speech impediments, and difficulty chewing.
When it comes to infants with tongue ties, they often have difficulty getting milk when breastfeeding, which can cause them to be underweight and can cause pain to the mother when the child tries to compensate for the lack of milk.
Yes, frenectomies are perfectly safe. What’s less safe is not correcting your child’s tongue or lip tie, which can have overreaching consequences on their oral and overall health for the rest of their life.
Our dental experts are highly trained and very experienced in performing frenectomies on children. We also use a minimally invasive and painless Biolase laser to reduce inflammation, bleeding, and soft tissue damage so they will heal fast and there’s no need for cutting or stitches!
Laser frenectomies are much safer and less complicated than traditional frenectomies which can alleviate worries for you and your child. We will not have to put them under anesthesia for this procedure and it is safe for people of all ages.
There are so many benefits to correcting your child's tongue or lip tie, ranging from improved breathing and speaking capabilities to an easier time ingesting nutrients and preventing dental issues. By unrestricting the tongue and lip, your child will be able to freely move their tongue and lips, making it easier to breastfeed and reducing their risk for other health problems.
Schedule a Consultation for Your Child Today!
If you suspect your child has a tongue or lip tie, contact us at Desert Kids Dental Today. There’s no reason for them to suffer from the restrictive movement that tongue and lip ties entail. Schedule a consultation for a frenectomy with Dr. Sandra Thompson today!
Tongue and lip ties are hereditary.