A frenotomy or frenectomy is a procedure that releases the frenum under the tongue or upper lip to allow for better range of motion. Children may be born with a combination of conditions called a tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) and/or a lip-tie causing restrictions in movement that can cause difficulty with breastfeeding, and in some instances, other health problems like excessive spacing, speech and airway difficulties, and digestive issues. Our frenectomies are a very simple, brief procedure.
Understanding Frenectomy And If Your Child Needs One
A frenectomy may be needed if your child has difficulty breastfeeding or struggles with bottle feeding. The tissue connecting their tongue to the bottom of their mouth may be excessive making it hard to move. To ensure that your child needs a frenectomy, you will need to schedule a consultation. During this visit, you will discuss your child’s difficulty symptoms. This will be followed by an examination performed and a determination made on whether a frenectomy is called for. There are three types of frena found in our mouths:
- Lingual frenum: This vertical band of tissue is found under the tongue, connecting it to the base of the mouth.
- Labial frenum: This webbing connects the lips to the gums at the front of the mouth. It is found above the top two front teeth and opposite this on the bottom.
- Buccal frena: Three bands of tissue connecting the gums and cheeks
Children experiencing difficulty with their frena will have the following concerns:
- Breastfeeding issues: Tongue and mouth position is essential in proper breastfeeding. Improper frena can cause difficulties with this feeding method.
- Feeding issues: Frenectomies can improve difficulties with eating, allowing them to do so at a more natural pace.
- Breathing/airway issues: Restriction of the tongue can change the growth and development of the lower jaw. It can result in a restricted airway that may collapse easier during sleep.
- Speech issues: Being unable to move the tongue freely can impact your child’s ability to develop clear speech.
Here at All Kids Dental of Suffolk, we perform two different forms of frenectomy to address your child’s concerns:
- Lingual Frenectomy: This procedure removes the connective tissue found underneath the tongue, adhering it to the mouth floor. These are frequently used to correct a condition known as a tongue-tie.
- Maxillary Frenectomy: This process removes, or splits, the tissue that connects the upper and lower front gums from the front and bottom lips. This condition is known as a lip-tie and can make newborns have difficulty latching on during breastfeeding.