As a parent, you notice the little things your baby does. Lately, you’ve been noticing some odd habits like clicking and suckling while they’ve been feeding. You want them to grow up happy and healthy and have the foundation they need to maintain their precious smile for years to come. When you start doing some research, you find that children often have lip and tongue ties that can affect their ability to feed. Fortunately, your dentist can help. Read on to learn about what a laser frenectomy is and how it could benefit your little one.
Infant Laser Frenectomy – Chicago, IL
Freedom from Lip and Tongue Tie
What Is a Frenectomy?
A frenulum is an oral tissue that connects each lip to the gums, and the tongue to the mouth floor. Sometimes, these tissues can cause a baby to have difficulty feeding because they restrict their oral movement. When this happens, your dentist can loosen or remove troublesome frenulums.
Recent technological advancements have made frenectomy procedures more effective, efficient, and virtually painless. Your dentist will use a precise soft tissue laser that allows them to pinpoint a particular area that needs to be treated without altering any surrounding oral tissue. The precision of this instrument allows for a faster and easier recovery. This procedure only takes a couple of minutes per frenulum, and it doesn’t require any incisions or stitches.
Types of Frenectomies and Frenuloplasties
During a laser frenectomy, a dentist removes a frenulum altogether. During a laser frenuloplasty, the frenulum is merely altered to the point where it no longer restricts proper movement of the oral structures. Although these procedures can be performed on either children or adults, they’re most often done for children, typically within the first year of their life. Treating children with lip or tongue tie early in their life can prevent future complications.
Why a Frenectomy Is Needed
Left untreated, lip and tongue tie can lead to a number of issues for your child. For example, they may not be able to latch properly during breastfeeding. As a mother, you experience painful, sore nipples. Such feeding difficulties are only the beginning of the problems that might ensue from lip and tongue tie. As your child grows, they may experience speech problems, have aversions to certain textures of food, and develop an oral myofunctional disorder, such as tongue thrust. Tongue thrust, wherein a person places the tongue too far forward in the mouth, can interfere with normal dental development. Children also often suffer from behavioral issues and lowered self-esteem because the way a lip or tongue tie affects their ability to speak and eat.
Benefits of a Laser Frenectomy
It used to be that doctors employed old-fashioned scalpels and sutures to perform frenectomies and frenuloplasties. However, many professionals now use lasers to carry out these procedures. Choosing a highly trained doctor to perform a laser frenectomy can offer your baby countless benefits:
- A treatment time of only a couple minutes
- No bleeding or stitches
- Little to no discomfort
- Minimally invasive
- Fast healing and recovery time
- Immediate feeding improvements
Frenectomies and Orthodontics
There are a number of ways in which lip and tongue tie can affect a child’s orthodontic development. For example, tongue thrust can cause the jaw to take on an irregular shape as well as cause gaps between the teeth. A frenulum that connects to the gums at the level where the teeth emerge can also lead to improper dental spacing.
If your child undergoes a frenectomy early enough, it may be possible to avoid such issues. However, if you child already has many of their teeth, their lip or tongue tie may lead to the need for a more complex treatment plan. Dr. Dale, our practice’s expert orthodontist, will evaluate such issues and design a treatment plan that may include both a frenectomy and orthodontic intervention.