In about 4% of infants, a condition called tongue-tie or lip-tie can occur, which our pediatric dentists, Dr. Andrea Mason and Dr. Mark Van Duker, may then recommend a frenectomy to fix. The condition is the result of too-thick tissue either under the top lip or the tongue. A frenectomy is a quick procedure, only lasting about 15 minutes, but can help free the area for movement, prevent misalignment of the teeth and make breastfeeding more comfortable and effective. When you meet with our pediatric dentists and team, we will be able to determine if a frenectomy in Olympia, Washington, is necessary, so please give us a call at 360-352-3515 if you are experiencing any of the symptoms below.
We can even check and treat infants who are only a few days old!
A tongue-tie is when a thick band of tissue under the tongue binds an infant’s tongue to the bottom of their mouth. This tissue, the lingual frenulum, generally separates before birth, but sometimes does not, for unknown reasons. This can lead to difficulties and pain when breastfeeding, as well as other issues with overall oral comfort and speech development. If your child has had problems breastfeeding or an older child complains about tongue discomfort, then tongue-tie might be the culprit.
Lip-ties are very similar to tongue-ties but are a result of the tissue behind the upper lip, the labial frenulum, being too thick and inflexible instead, preventing the upper lip from moving freely. This condition can make breastfeeding very difficult, resulting in pain and discomfort for the mother and a lack of healthy weight gain for the infant. If you have noticed that your infant is not gaining weight, is constantly hungry but never seems to be satisfied, often falls asleep while nursing, or other complications, please contact us today.
A small fold of tissue connecting parts of your mouth is called a frenulum. The frenulum may need to be removed or modified for improvement in oral function and health in a treatment known as frenectomy.
There are two main types of frenectomy: lingual frenectomy and labial frenectomy.
- A lingual frenectomy is performed when the lingual frenulum (the frenulum that connects the bottom of the tongue to the mouth’s floor) is too short or thick. An ill-formed lingual frenulum can result in ankyloglossia, commonly known as tongue-tie. Tongue-tie often prevents a patient from eating or speaking correctly and can be especially troublesome for developing children.
- A labial frenectomy is performed when the frenulum attaching the top lip to the gums surrounding the top teeth is malformed. A problem with this frenulum may lead to gum recession in the area if it is not addressed.
In each type of frenectomy, the process is quick and simple. The affected frenulum can be removed by our pediatric dentists in just one appointment. We will keep you and your child comfortable during the procedure, and we will also provide care instructions that you can follow at home to ensure optimal results and healing.
If you would like to learn more or schedule your appointment, please call our office today!