Tongue-Tie, Lip-Tie, Frenectomy

Tongue-Tie | Lip-Tie | Frenectomy

What is a frenum?

A frenum is a section of tissue that anchors the upper and lower gums to other essential structures in the mouth. There is both a lingual frenum and a labial frenum.

Lingual Frenum

The lingual frenum is tissue that connects the lower gums to the tongue. Sometimes, the size of this tissue attachment is too thick or too short and can cause issues when it comes to speaking, tooth alignment, and jaw development.

Problems with the lingual frenum can also cause tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia. This restriction occurs when the frenum is abnormally short or attached too close to the tip of the tongue. In addition to speech and alignment issues, tongue-tie can also cause eating problems in babies and children.

Labial Frenum

The labial frenum attaches the upper gums to the center of the upper lip. If shaped incorrectly, the labial frenum can cause problems with the proper development of gum tissue, with the spacing of the top middle teeth, and with jaw alignment.

Issues with the labial frenum can also cause a condition called lip-tie. This takes place when the upper lip remains attached to the upper gums. Like with tongue-tie, lip-tie can also cause serious eating problems in babies and children.

Eating and Breastfeeding Issues Caused by Tongue-Tie and Lip-Tie

Normal tongue and lip function is essential for the movements associated with eating, drinking, and swallowing. Proper tongue motion during these activities allows food and drink to be cleared from the mouth and guided down the pharynx (throat). It also allows a baby to successfully latch during breastfeeding. In the case of tongue-tie and lip-tie, those motions are restricted or at times, not even possible, which causes serious impairment to the process of eating and drinking.

Dealing with tongue-tie for breastfeeding can be especially upsetting for both mother and child since the baby experiences difficulty in attaching to the breast. Not only does the baby struggle, but the mother does also due to nipple and breast pain from poor or improper latching. Infant tongue-tie can prevent proper milk stimulation and production, hinder the mother/child bonding process, and lead to inadequate nourishment and growth of the baby.

Tongue-Tie and Lip-Tie Solutions

A frenectomy is a procedure performed by a tongue-tie dentist or lip-tie dentist that surgically releases the lingual or labial frenum to allow for better motion and movement of the tongue, jaws, and lips. The surgery is performed using a non-heat light laser which quickly and cleanly removes excess frenum tissue.

Due to the use of a surgical laser, there is very little bleeding or infection associated with the procedure. The laser cauterizes as it removes the tissue which prevents blood loss, greatly reduces the risk of infection due to microorganisms, and promotes more rapid healing. The process causes very little discomfort with some babies and younger children are even able to sleep through the procedure.

Frenectomies As Breastfeeding Solutions

Not only will a frenectomy allow proper tongue and lip movements for speaking, jaw positioning, and tooth alignment, but it will also correct many of the issues that may have been experienced during breastfeeding. A frenectomy can allow the baby to position its tongue and lips around the nipple to form the latch needed for successful breastfeeding. This alleviates the pain and anxiety for the mother while also allowing for healthy growth and development of the baby. It also relieves the stress previously experienced when breastfeeding to allow mom and baby to develop their own special bond.

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