A frenectomy procedure is the release of an extraneous or tight tissue attachment using sterile scissors, scalpel or, at Summerside Dental, a soft-tissue laser.
Types of Frenectomy Procedures
Some children are born with a thin webbing under their tongue, or a tight lingual frenum, which may inhibit the tongue from extending fully. These patients are often referred to as being tongue-restricted or tongue-tied, a condition known as ankyloglossia. Ankyloglossia can make it difficult for infants to breastfeed, and can also impact speech, swallowing, jaw development and eating in children and adults.
Lip-ties occur when the extension of tissue behind the baby’s upper lip, the maxillary labial frenum, is too tight, limiting the upper lip’s movement. Similar to tongue-ties, lip-ties that are not elastic or able to be stretched can cause feeding difficulties. Usually, a baby’s upper lip can be flipped up to encircle around the upper portion of the mother’s areoles, but if not, then a thin, taught, white lip-tie may be released.
Does my baby need to have their tongue-tie released?
If, when nursing, your baby’s tongue makes a repeated clicking sound due to a thin white webbing (visible under your baby’s tongue when you lift it up) then releasing the tongue-tie may be considered — particularly if the tongue is not able to stick out far enough to draw in the hind milk. Sometimes an upper lip tie is also involved, which prevents the upper lip from making a complete seal, causing milk to spill out. Phone us at 780-665-4833 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Boldt to have her assess your baby’s tongue, lips and latch. Infants over 6 months who need a frenectomy will be referred out to a Pediatric Dentist or Oral Surgeon.
Is the use of a laser, scalpel or scissors better for frenectomies?
There is less chance of recurrence (or “healing back together”) with our soft-tissue laser than with a scalpel or scissors since the thin white webbing disappears with the laser. The laser has a warning, similar to video games, that people who are prone to light sensitivity or seizures have a risk of fainting, so special laser safety glasses are worn to protect the baby’s eyes from the wavelength of the laser. Other benefits and risks are discussed at the office in our 10-minute video and informed consent page.
Will my child have speech issues if we don’t release their tongue?
Perhaps, as speech issues depend on whether the tongue is able to protrude to make an “r” sound or reach the roof of the mouth to make a “ch” or “l” sound. Proper placement of the tongue can be taught by parents or speech pathologists, but toddlers who have speech issues should have their tongues checked for possible ties. Phone 780-665-4833 for a consultation with Dr. Kim Boldt, who may refer the child to a Pediatric Dentist, Speech Pathologist, Oral Surgeon or Oral Myologist if needed.