What is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a minor in-office oral surgical laser procedure which involves removing either the connective tissue located under the tongue (lingual frenum) or the band of tissue that attaches the upper lip to the gums (labial frenum) in order to correct problems arising from a tongue tie or lip tie condition.
There are two types of frenectomies:
Lingual frenectomy: The lingual frenum that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is removed, usually to release a tongue tie (ankyloglossia). Laser release of the tongue can greatly improve breastfeeding for infants . with this condition, as well as help with speech development, jaw growth, and development leading to improved airway, improving the ability for efficient eating.
Maxillary frenectomy: The labial frenum which attaches the upper lip to the gum is removed. In cases where the labial frenum is too large or too tight, which can prevent successful latching during breastfeeding and cause future orthodontic problems.
Video of a Maxillary Laser Frenectomy
Accredited laser dentistry surgeons, Drs. Rubin and Sentelle, at Frisco Kid’s Dentistry, offer state of the art Carbon Dioxide soft tissue laser frenectomies for infants and children which allow tongue tie and lip tie release to be performed quickly, safely, and effectively with faster recovery time and little to no pain.
Download our handout on What is a Frenectomy?
Does My Child Need a Frenectomy?
Frenectomies are performed for a variety of reasons. For infants, tongue tie and lip tie may be hindering breastfeeding or bottle feeding if the baby is unable to latch or establish a seal while he/she is attempting to eat, causing extreme nursing pain to the nursing mom.
For older children, a frenectomy can help resolve speech problem, eating difficulties, airway issues, decrease cavities, as well as be part of an overall orthodontic plan if the lip tie is creating a gap between the front teeth or displacing the jaw.
Signs that your child may benefit from a frenectomy include:
- Nursing pain for mom
- Difficulty latching during breastfeeding
- Inability to open the mouth widely
- Heart-shaped tip of the tongue
- Excessive gassiness
(For older children)
- Speech difficulty
- Narrow vaulted top jaw
- Lower jaw protrusion
- Eating/digestive problems
- Gap between upper/lower front teeth
Orthodontics and Frenectomies
A lingual frenectomy may be performed prior to orthodontic treatment in cases where a short frenum is causing the patient to push the lower jaw out to eat or speak more comfortably or if you are unable to elevate the tongue that helps to naturally expand the top jaw and create more orthodontic room. Removal of the lingual frenum can help ensure long-term successful orthodontic success
For patients who have a gap between the front teeth, a maxillary frenectomy may be recommended before or after the removal of dental braces to keep the teeth from separating again after treatment is completed. This will also help improve oral hygiene by making it much easier to brush by the gumline between the top front two teeth.
How is a Frenectomy Performed?
At Frisco Kid’s Dentistry, we perform tongue tie and lip tie surgeries on infants, children, and teens from across the DFW metroplex using a specialized state-of-the-art soft tissue laser which removes the oral tissue with very minimal bleeding and discomfort. The frenum is essentially vaporized by the highly focused laser rather than being cut with a scalpel. The soft tissue laser also allows the healing process after the frenectomy to be quicker and less complicated, making it especially ideal for infants and young children.
If you would like more information about the benefits of tongue tie and lip tie laser surgery or would like to find out if your child is a candidate for a laser frenectomy, contact the pediatric dental specialists at Frisco Kid’s Dentistry for an evaluation.
If you would like more information about the benefits of tongue-tie and lip-tie laser surgery or would like to find out if your child is a candidate for a laser frenectomy, contact the pediatric dental specialists at Frisco Kid’s Dentistry for an evaluation.