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Pediatric Dentistry

Frenectomies

Four reasons for children to have a frenectomy.

Frenectomy is a simple, short oral surgery procedure conducted in our office with a laser. It eliminates the presence of a frenum, a connective tissue in the mouth. There are 2 types of frenum in the mouth. A labial frenum is the tissue that connects the inside of the upper lip to the center of the gums between the two upper front teeth. A lingual frenum is the connective tissue between the underside of the tongue, connecting the bottom of the mouth to the area behind the teeth. A frenectomy eliminates the frenum. We provide this surgery at the Sun Valley Surgery Center.

There are different reasons for children to have a frenectomy. For Infants, those reasons may include:

  • Infant is not gaining weight
  • Latch is shallow/infant falls off frequently
  • Infant is gassy or clicking noises are prominent
  • Feedings are causing mom discomfort/pain

In toddlers between the ages of 18 Months – 5 years old, the most common reason to have a frenectomy is that the frenum does not allow clearance of food and plaque and it is difficult to clean the upper teeth, which can potentially cause cavities.

Sometimes in children between 5 – 7 years old the frenum will cause a space between upper front incisors. It is ideal to remove the frenum one year before teeth come in. This gives the front teeth the best chance to come in without a space between them.

The procedure is quick and simple. For toddlers, the child will be given oral sedation before the procedure begins. For older children, there is an option to have oral sedation, Nitrous Oxide, or in some cases both. After the child has been sedated, the dentist will apply a topical anesthetic gel on the frenum. Next, a local anesthetic will be administered with an injection. Then, a soft tissue laser will be used in order to cauterize blood vessel and nerve endings. Using a soft tissue laser will reduce the risk for infection and minimize bleeding during and after the procedure.

Improve your child’s speech, eating, and physiological development.

We are pleased to be able to address your child’s lip and/or tongue tie issue using the latest laser technology, making this procedure safe and precise with a faster recovery than ever before. We have seen some amazing benefits from having a tongue or a lip tie revision, including improved nursing, speech, eating and swallowing, along with increased physical, emotional, and psychological development. We are excited to educate, diagnose, and provide treatment that can help alleviate adverse symptoms of lip and tongue tie.

Symptoms

Baby: Some of your baby’s challenges from lip or tongue tie may include difficulty establishing or maintaining a latch (manifested as clicking, snapbacks or breaking latch), excessive air intake due to inadequate seal (Aerophagia) leading to bloating, fussiness, colic, reflux (GERD), gassiness, weight loss, feeding refusal (defensive protective mechanism), failure to thrive, extended feeding times, falling asleep at the breast due to exhaustion, and/or restless sleeping due to inadequate feedings leading to continual feeding cycles.

Mother: Common problems for the mother may include pain when nursing, plugged ducts, mastitis, bleeding, cracking, structural damage to the nipples, and/or early loss of milk supply, not to mention the psychological, mental and emotional impact of the difficulty in providing for your newborn.

The Laser Procedure

Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of your child during the lip tie or tongue tie revision. Smaller babies and infants are gently wrapped in a swaddle to limit their movements and protect them during the oral examination and evaluation and for the surgical procedure. A small amount of local anesthetic will be injected into the tied tissues. Our staff will, with two hands, gently stabilize the child’s head. The laser is then used to remove the excessive attachment, which takes between 2 and 5 minutes, depending on age, behavior, and size of the lip tie or tongue tie. A final assessment is done and then the child is immediately returned to his/her parent. We encourage nursing your child immediately after the procedure.

Post-Operative Care

We recommend you do stretches for at least 2 weeks after the procedure in order to keep the areas open until healing is complete. We will show you how these are to be done after the procedure. Once the tissue looks completely pink and healed, we recommend stretching twice a day for one more week. Your child may experience discomfort for 1-3 days after the procedure. We recommend nursing to help comfort your baby. infant Tylenol may also be used for up to 24 hours if needed.

Follow up

When possible, we recommend a 2-week follow-up visit to help assure adequate stretching is happening and reattachment has not occurred.

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We truly care about your child’s health and happiness. Reach out to get your child’s appointment scheduled. We can’t wait to see you.

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