A frenulum is a fold of tissue that works to anchor an organ in place, preventing too much movement. The human body has several frena, with two existing in the mouth. One frenulum anchors the tongue to the floor of your mouth while the other anchors the upper lip to the gums. Some infants are born with a tongue or lip tie. This is a condition in which the frenulum is too tight, restricting movement too much. Restricted movement affects feeding ability as well as the development of speech as the child grows. At Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center, we can help to enable proper movement with a frenectomy.
Tongue and Lip Ties
A tongue tie occurs when the frenulum below your tongue is too tight. This may be caused by a frenulum that is too short, or by one that is attached too close to the tip of the tongue. The severity of the tie can vary from infant to infant, but it can have a significant impact on the ability of the infant to feed effectively, no matter if the child is breastfed or bottle fed. A tongue tie in an infant who is breastfed can also cause significant pain for the mother.
Tongue ties can cause some other major complications as the child grows. For one, it can affect proper speech development. Your child may have difficulty swallowing. A tongue tie can even impact the growth and development of the mouth.
A lip tie occurs when the frenulum attaching the upper lip to the gums is too tight. Much like a tongue tie, this type of tie can affect proper feeding. Lip ties can also lead to a gap between the two front teeth, called a diastema. Not only does this impact the quality of the smile, but it can also increase the risk for cavities and gum disease.
What is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a procedure that is performed to release the tongue or upper lip, allowing for proper, effective movement while also preventing feeding and other issues. Traditionally, this procedure was done using a scalpel, which required the need for stitches. Today, we perform a frenectomy using a laser. The laser uses a concentrated beam of light to release the tissue. It cauterizes tissue as it cuts, limiting bleeding. The laser provides pinpoint accuracy, minimizing tissue trauma. It also reduces downtime as well as the risk for infection.
The Benefits of a Frenectomy
There are numerous benefits that are associated with a frenectomy, including:
- Improved latch. This leads to more effective feeding. For breastfed babies, an improved latch greatly reduces pain for the mother.
- Improved breastfeeding relationship. With no pain, there is less stress for the mother, which means less stress for the infant.
- Enabling proper speech development.
- Proper development and growth of the mouth. Treating an upper lip tie can help to avoid issues with palatal development. The upper teeth can erupt into proper alignment, which can reduce the risk of cavities.
If a tongue or lip tie is affecting the life of your child, a frenectomy can help. For more information, and to schedule a consultation, call Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center at (570) 323-1900 today.