Many mothers often believe or have been told, that if they cannot successfully breastfeed their infant that there is something wrong with them. This simply is not true. Many babies are born with a tongue-tie or a lip tie. Some are born with both. These issues can significantly affect the ability of the baby to latch, leading to pain and other difficulties with breastfeeding. At Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry, we can help with frenectomy procedures.
Tongue and Lip Ties
A tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, is a restriction of the tongue due to the frenulum being short, or attached too closely to the tip of the tongue. Not only does a tongue-tie prohibit proper breastfeeding, it can also affect speech development, the ability to swallow properly, and even proper growth and development. Not to mention it can make the simple joys of childhood, such as licking an ice cream cone, catching snowflakes, or even just sticking the tongue out almost impossible.
A lip tie occurs when the frenulum that connects the upper lip to the gums is very short. In addition to affecting latch for breastfeeding, a lip tie can also cause a space between the two front teeth, increase the risk for developing cavities, and can also lead to repeated trauma to the frenulum.
What Is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a procedure in which the frenulum under the tongue or between the upper lip and gums is released, or cut. This procedure is performed to enable a better range of motion of the tongue or lip.
How Is a Frenectomy Performed?
Traditionally, frenectomies have been performed with a scalpel. Today, however, advances in technology have led to the use of a laser to perform this procedure. Rather than actually cutting the tissue, the laser vaporizes it using a concentrated beam of light energy. The laser cauterizes the tissue as it works, and it causes much less discomfort than a scalpel. The laser also sterilizes at the same time, which greatly reduces the risk of infection at the site.
There are numerous benefits associated with a frenectomy for babies.
In addition to breastfeeding benefits, a frenectomy can also aid in avoiding other issues. Your child will be able to develop proper speech as well as avoid gaps between the front teeth and other developmental issues.
What Can I Expect After a Frenectomy?
With the frenectomy performed using a laser, there is significantly less bleeding. The laser also aids in stimulating tissue growth for faster healing. In fact, immediately following the frenectomy, you can breastfeed your infant. Breast milk has excellent healing properties, and it also provides comfort for your infant. We may also provide you with some information on post-operative stretches to prevent reattachment of the tissue.
If your infant is having trouble latching and breastfeeding, they may have a tongue or lip tie. Call Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry to schedule your consultation and find out if a frenectomy is right for your baby today at (316) 202-9629.