If your child is experiencing tongue-tie issues, a frenectomy procedure may help. Your pediatric dentist can help you learn more about this procedure and what to expect during recovery.
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What is a Frenectomy & When Is it Needed?

A frenectomy is an in-office treatment in which an isolate of connective tissue under the tongue (lingual frenum) or the tissue connecting the upper lip to the gums (labial frenum) is removed to relieve tongue-tie, lip-tie, and related problems.

Any procedure involving the removal or modification of binding tissue on the body can be called a frenectomy or frenotomy. During the infant stage of development, frenectomy surgeries are quite common. Pediatricians and dentists often check for lip or tongue-tie conditions during routine checkups. However, it is common for these issues to go undiscovered well into adolescence.

A pediatric dentist typically performs a frenectomy procedure in the office. The procedure takes less than 15 minutes and the recovery period averages about two weeks.

Types of Frenectomy Procedures

A lingual frenectomy is a procedure that eliminates the lingual frenum, the tissue between the tongue and the floor of the mouth. It is usually used to release a tongue-tie. In addition to aiding breastfeeding, the release of the tongue can lead to better speech development, better jaw development, and an improved airway, making eating much more efficient.

A maxillary frenectomy involves the removal of the labial frenum, which connects the upper lip to the gum. Having a large or tight labial frenum can hinder successful breastfeeding and cause orthodontic issues in the future.

Does My Child Need a Frenectomy?

Frenectomies are performed for several reasons. Lactation and bottle feeding may be hindered by tongue-tie and lip-tie if infants are unable to latch or establish a seal, causing severe nursing pain for their mothers.

An older child may benefit from a frenectomy to fix speech issues, eating difficulties, and airway issues, as well as to help decrease cavities or close gaps between the front teeth.

A frenectomy may help fix these issues:

  • Difficulty opening the mouth widely
  • A tongue tip in the shape of a heart
  • Gastritis (excessive gassiness)
  • Vaulted narrow top jaw (narrow palate)
  • Protruding lower jaw
  • Problems with eating and digestion

What To Expect During Recovery

Following the procedure, most babies feel only minimal discomfort or fussiness, and breastfeeding relieves pain naturally. Nevertheless, if your baby is feeling discomfort, please reach out to our pediatric dentist for information about pain medication and treatment..

Anesthesia may cause your child’s chest or neck to appear red for a few hours. This is a normal side effect. Following surgery, your child may be in some discomfort and experience some swelling. These symptoms are normal and should resolve within a few days. A mild fever is also possible following surgery. If the stitches have not yet dissolved, ask about safe methods of taking a temperature.

Stitches given to your child dissolve on their own. Your child may have difficulty swallowing after surgery. Make sure your child is getting enough liquid by discussing tips on water intake with their healthcare provider.

Depending on the type of procedure and methods used, your child’s dentist should provide any stretching exercises necessary, as well as additional aftercare instructions.

If your child is experiencing problems that may need a frenectomy, contact our pediatric dentist today.

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