For some, breastfeeding can be a wonderful time to bond with your child. For others, it can be a painful, frustrating experience that leaves you feeling drained. If you’re wondering if there’s a better way, the answer is yes. Frenectomies can help keep you comfortable and ensure your child is getting proper nutrition while feeding.
Being told that your infant needs a surgical procedure can sound scary, but a frenectomy, also referred to as tethered oral tissue release, is simple, safe, and effective with minimal aftercare. Plus, with a conservative approach to pediatric dentistry, your doctor will only recommend frenectomies when they deem them necessary. If you’ve been struggling with breastfeeding or noticing popping or clicking sounds while your child is feeding, it may be time to come in for a frenectomy consultation.
Tongue ties occur in 4-11% of newborns.
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Our gentle, yet effective laser can release tongue and lip ties with little pain or discomfort and promotes faster healing. In most cases, numbing is not even required, and the entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.
Rest assured that your child is receiving top-notch, specialized care with our Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist. To be recognized by The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, doctors must undergo extensive training in the pediatric field in addition to their standard dental degrees.
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Tongue/lip ties can make breastfeeding difficult for both baby and mom. Frenectomies ensure your infant can feed properly and help prevent low weight gain.
Early treatment with a frenectomy helps prevent speech pathology due to restricted tongue movement.
Releasing restrictive tissues can also help older children enjoy their favorite foods with ease and less discomfort.
First, a consultation is necessary to determine if your child requires a frenectomy. We work as a team with local lactation consultants, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and chiropractors to provide an environment and support system before and after treatment. You’ll discuss your concerns and experiences with the doctor and your child will receive an oral exam. The dentist will examine their mouth for signs of tongue and lip ties, and determine whether or not a frenectomy is the best option. To begin the surgery, the area will be numbed using local anesthesia to ensure your child feels absolutely no pain or discomfort throughout the procedure.
At our practice, we release tight oral tissues with the Solea CO2 all-tissue laser, quickest and most effective of its kind. Studies have shown that it reduces post-operative pain and bleeding more than any other other method of release.
With a laser frenectomy, there is no need for stitches or sutures. Proper aftercare includes cleaning the treatment site at least twice per day. Your child’s pediatric dentist in Valencia may also recommend tongue or lip stretches to ensure that the frenulum heals properly and does not reattach. We typically see patients twice after their procedure to confirm that the tissue doesn't heal too fast. Of course, we are always happy to take a look anytime in the healing process.
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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.
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.
To care for the surgical site, you will need to clean the treatment area twice a day to prevent infection and keep it healthy. Our team will teach you how to properly stretch the tissues to prevent it from healing too tight. Your child's pediatric dentist will also send you home with written instructions on how to properly stretch the tissues after you get home.
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 prior to treatment.
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. Usually, over-the-counter medications are not needed, but when they are, simple Tylenol can be given and is effective at relieving any discomfort.
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.
If tight oral tissues are properly diagnosed at an early age, they are quite easy to release. Some children with slightly tight oral tissues may not even need therapy.
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 pediatric dentist right away.
If you think that your child may be experiencing a tongue or lip tie, even if the symptoms are minor, schedule a consultation at All Kids Dentistry!