Your sweet, perfect little baby is struggling to gain weight and breastfeed properly—naturally, as a caring parent, you’re concerned. Are you doing something wrong? As it turns out, your baby has a lip and tongue tie preventing them from feeding efficiently. To fix it, they’ll need to undergo a procedure called a frenectomy, where the excess tissue is severed. That may sound scary, but the good news is that your pediatric dentist can perform the frenectomy with a soft tissue laser!
Because of this amazing technology, this procedure is much faster, gentler, and easier to recover from than it used to be. However, your baby will still require your special attention for a while afterward. Here are some tips for infant oral care following a frenectomy that will help them get back on track.
Although a frenectomy isn’t nearly as intense as other procedures, it is still minor surgery. Stay home and reserve a couple of days for your baby to recover. Every once in a while, gently lift up their tongue or lip to make sure that the site is healing and that they have greater mobility.
You may see minor bleeding, and don’t be surprised if your baby’s stool is darker than usual because of small amounts of swallowed blood. This is normal. Any bleeding should stop shortly, but if it persists beyond a couple of days, or if the bleeding is heavy, contact your pediatric dentist right away.
During the procedure, your baby’s tissue will be numb, and they won’t feel discomfort; however, as the anesthetic wears off, they may be a little fussy for a couple of days afterward. If your little one is too young for liquid pain relievers, you can provide comfort for them through skin-to-skin contact, smaller and more frequent feedings, and plenty of cuddling. If your baby is old enough to take a pain reliever, you may use the recommended dose.
If you are breastfeeding, you may feed your baby almost immediately after the procedure is complete. In fact, the antibodies and nutrients found in breastmilk can help your baby in the healing process. Just keep in mind that you may have shorter feedings initially. For older children, refrain from giving them hot, cold, or spicy foods (which could irritate the incision site) for several days following the frenectomy, and withhold hard, crunchy foods until the site has entirely healed.
Overall, a laser frenectomy will allow your baby to eat and eventually speak with more tongue and lip mobility. By implementing these tips following the procedure, you can help your child recover quickly and start to thrive. Now that’s a reason to smile!
At Chicago Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we are proud to have four highly trained dentists. Our three pediatric dentists routinely use soft tissue lasers to perform frenectomies on infants and children and strive to make the experience as comfortable as possible. If you have questions about frenectomies, or if you think that your baby may have a tongue or lip tie, you can contact Chicago Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics by clicking here.
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