Your child’s pediatrician or pediatric dentist recommended your child get a frenectomy and now you’re scouring the internet trying to figure out exactly what that means and if it’s necessary for your child. Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry is here to help answer your questions and put you at ease.
Defining a Frenectomy
Simply put, a frenectomy is the removal of the frenum. The frenum is the soft connective tissue that forms a thin line between the lip and the gums. The maxillary frenums are located on the top and on the bottom of your mouth in front of your teeth. The lingual frenum connects the bottom of your tongue to the bottom of your mouth behind the teeth.
When is a Frenectomy Needed?
A maxillary or lingual frenum may need to be removed when it is too large or too tight for an infant or child to use their mouth correctly. Most often, when a maxillary frenum needs to be removed it is referred to as a tongue tie, whereas a lingual frenum needing to be removed is called a lip tie.
Signs Your Child May Need a Frenectomy
There are several indicators in an infant or toddler that could mean they could benefit from a frenectomy, including:
- Difficulty latching during breastfeeding or pain when mother nurses
- Excessive gas
- Heart-shaped tip of the tongue
- Restricted ability to open mouth
Toddlers with lip ties or tongue ties may experience:
- Speech delay or difficulty
- Problems with eating or digestion
- A gap in the front teeth
How is a Frenectomy Done?
The procedure itself is quite simple and is a quick, outpatient appointment. Using a soft tissue laser, the pediatric dentist focuses the beam on the frenum and essentially vaporizes the tissue connecting the gum to the lip or the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. Typically the procedure causes little discomfort to the patient, and has little bleeding. Babies and children usually heal quickly and comfortably.
Frenectomies in Older Children
Most often, lip tie and tongue tie removals are done on babies because it affects their ability to nurse or gives them too much gas. Performing frenectomies on babies and toddlers is also ideal because it is less traumatic and they heal quickly.
If a lip tie or tongue tie is discovered in an older child due to jaw or teeth displacement, a frenectomy may be recommended, as well as follow-up orthodontic treatment.
Get More Information on Frenectomies
If you have questions about your child’s need for a frenectomy or about the procedure, reach out to our team at Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry today.