Frenectomies are common procedures performed in pediatric dentistry, but they’re only necessary if a child has a tongue or lip tie. Sometimes, they are used to treat gum recession or other orthodontic issues in adulthood, but they are mostly used to treat infants to prevent long-term problems. Read on in this blog from Smile Ark Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about frenectomies.
A frenectomy is a surgical procedure performed on children that have tongue or lip ties. It involves cutting the frenum which is a piece of connective tissue that connects the lip to the gums or the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
Children with tongue or lip ties experience restrictive movement which can cause difficulties with feeding, oral health problems, and speech impediments without treatment. Some children have a thicker or stiffer frenum which greatly restricts the movement of their tongue or lip, known as tongue and lip ties.
The frenectomy procedure improves range of motion to improve a child’s ability to properly breastfeed, enunciate, and avoid long-term problems like sleep breathing disorders, and even emotional issues.
A frenectomy is recommended if the tongue or lip tie is causing clear problems for your child. Most people opt to get a frenectomy on their infant child to minimize discomfort, but it can also be performed on adults.
Since frenectomies lead to breathing, feeding, and speaking issues, a frenectomy is performed to prevent these issues. Typically, they are done after a child has suffered from difficulties with weight gain or the inability to breastfeed which is causing nipple soreness in the mother.
There are various reasons why a frenectomy may be necessary. If you’re not sure if your child needs one, schedule a consultation with your dentist.
While traditionally, frenectomies were performed with surgical tools that would snip the frenum using surgical scissors. Depending on the patient’s age, an anesthetic may be used and sutures may be used to close any incisions.
However, with advancements in dental technology, many dental practices are now turning to the use of soft tissue lasers to perform frenectomies because they can cut the frenum without making any incisions and without the need for an anesthetic.
It’s a completely painless procedure that reduces inflammation, healing time, and post-op infection risk. It also greatly reduces bleeding because the laser cauterizes the wound as it’s cutting, completely sealing the area so there’s no need for sutures.
At Smile Ark Pediatric Dentistry, we use soft tissue lasers and Solea all-tissue lasers as an alternative to surgical tools to perform these sorts of procedures in a less invasive and more comfortable manner.
If you think your child needs a frenectomy, contact us at Smile Ark Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lee. Dental sedation is also available if your child has dental anxiety or special needs.