A Frenectomy is a minor surgical procedure to remove or divide a frenum, a small ligament that regulates the movement of an organ or muscle group in the body.
The upper labial frenum is a ligament that attaches the muscles of the upper lip from the inside mucosa to the gingiva (gum) above the upper central teeth. Where the attachment is high, occasionally running in between the two upper central teeth on older children, it is sometimes referred to as a lip tie. During breastfeeding, a restrictive ligament can affect a baby’s ability to flange their upper lip to create an efficient vacuum seal, often losing attachment, allowing air to be sucked in resulting in wind and reflux like symptoms. Due to their poor sucking action, these lip tied babies often don’t get an adequate milk intake, tend to tire easily and therefore tend to feed for longer time periods and feed more often making the problem worse.
The lingual frenum is part of a complex ligament structure that essentially attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth and lower jaw. When this attachment is close to the lower central teeth this is commonly called being tongue tied. The tongue tied baby is restricted in the ability of their tongue to move fully with resulting reduced function.
Laser Treatment of Tongue Tie or Frenectomy
The conventional surgery to release frenums/frenulums can be quite traumatic, painful and can take a long time to heal. With the use of lasers, your dentist can quickly, precisely and almost painlessly remove the tissue making it more comfortable for your child. There is minimal bleeding afterwards and hardly any discomfort.
Children are able to go to school the day after and adults can go back to work the same day. Eating is normal and a baby will suckle immediately after this procedure. Laser treatment of a tongue-tie is safe for babies.
For adults we recommend myofunctional therapy prior to tongue tie release for a few weeks or based on the recommendation of your dentist. Additionally we recommend the placement of sutures to assist in maintaining the length and separation of the tongue from the floor of the mouth. Adults may also require two or three releases to achieve maximal length and the desired tongue movement.
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