Tongue-tie / Frenectomy Tenafly, NJ
Why a Laser Frenectomy May Be Needed
A frenum is a muscular stretch of tissue that connects and holds other tissues in place. Tongue tie is caused by a lingual frenulum (the membrane under the tongue) that is either too short or too thick.
Sometimes a frenum might be short, thick, or tight, and might extend too far down along the tongue or the gum to results in lip tie or tongue tie. When a frenum is positioned in a way to interfere with the normal alignment of teeth, speech or constricts the movement of the tongue or lips, it can be corrected by a surgery called a frenectomy.
For a newborn, lip tie or tongue tie can make breastfeeding difficult for the infant and painful for the mother because the lip’s or tongue’s limited movement prevents the infant from properly latching on. Babies with lip tie often have difficulty flanging their lips properly to feed and don’t make a good seal at the breast when latching. This can cause them to take in excess air during breastfeeding which often makes these babies gassy and fussy. If left untreated, it can eventually impair the child’s speech and proper tooth alignment.
What is a Laser Frenectomy?
Laser frenectomy is the use of a laser beam to detach the frenulum from the lips and/or tongue. This may be done with a simple topical anesthetic, no injections are necessary and it is usually completed in a few minutes.
The benefits of using a laser for the frenectomy are, less bleeding, less scarring, less postoperative pain, shorter healing time, less risk of reattachment, and fewer functional complications.
Symptoms and Indications
Infant’s symptoms may include failure to gain weight, excessive fussiness after feeding, shallow latch-on, and loud clicking sounds during nursing.
Mother’s symptoms may include severe pain with latch-on during breastfeeding, incomplete breast drainage, mastitis or nipple thrush, constant or chronic pain during nursing, infected nipples, plugged ducts, or nipple trauma.
Child/Adult symptoms may include discomfort or pain when extending tongue, difficulty maneuvering mouth (such as when eating lollipops), painful catching of the frenulum in between teeth or on eating utensils, speech impediment, difficulty brushing, flossing, or orthodontic complications.
Healing and Recovery
The mouth heals very quickly and bleeding after a frenectomy is usually minimal. Afterwards it is important to stretch and massage the tongue at least 4-6 times a day for a month to prevent the tongue from reattaching as it heals.