Everyone has a small strand of tissue, called a frenum, that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth and the lips to the gums. When the frenum is too short, thick, or tight, it can inhibit normal mouth function and development. Approximately 4-10% of babies are born with restrictive frenums, also known as lip and tongue ties. The diagnosis of a tongue or lip tie requires a full evaluation of oral tissue mobility and function. A frenectomy is the procedure to remove this excess tissue and allow proper oral function.
Lip and tongue ties often prevent mothers and babies from experiencing a healthy and successful breastfeeding relationship. If the tongue or lip are unable to move freely, babies cannot effectively latch and transfer milk. For a mother this can lead to cracked or bleeding nipples, pain, infection, mastitis, and breast engorgement. Infants may experience one or more of the following symptoms: poor weight gain, colic and/or reflux, sliding off nipples, weak suction, biting or chewing of nipples, signs of frustration and exhaustion while attempting to nurse.
If a tongue or lip tie remains uncorrected numerous problems may arise over time. However, because our doctors carefully consider function rather than appearance, they may recommend waiting until the child is older to see if the tie(s) will be problematic. A handful of problems that individuals with untreated ties may experience include: impaired speech and articulation, orthodontic issues, gingival recession, food impaction with difficult oral hygiene, decay and cavities, aversion to solid food and impaired chewing and swallowing.
A frenectomy is a procedure that releases either one or both ties and allows for optimal movement and oral tissue control. Our office uses the most advanced laser technology, utilizing a Carbon Dioxide LightScaple Laser, so we can provide the highest level of care for your child. Our laser allows for a quick in office procedure with minimal bleeding and shorter healing time. Following the procedure, we will carefully go over post-op instructions and exercises to ensure proper healing.
Our office is committed to helping you and your child establish a healthy and happy breastfeeding relationship. We set aside time in our weekly schedule to perform frenectomies and collaborate closely with lactation consultants, occupational therapist, and body workers to ensure you have the necessary support for long term success.