Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault On 22-06-2022
As a parent, taking your children in for a medical procedure, even a simple one, always feels scary. Procedures that may be less common may feel even more alarming, as you may not understand what will happen or why it’s necessary.
That’s why we’ve put together this informative guide so that you can understand what a laser frenectomy is and how it will help your child.
A frenum (or lingual frenulum) is a soft piece of tissue found near our teeth and gums. Most of us have two, one at both the top and bottoms of our mouths. The top is above our teeth, attaching our gums to the back of our upper lip. The lower one attaches our tongues to the bottom of our mouth.
Typically the frenum detaches from the tongue on its own. However, in instances where ankyloglossia occurs, tongue movement is limited as the attached frenum is either too short or too close to the tip of the tongue.
This condition is more commonly known as tongue-tie. While tongue-tie can affect speech and other functions, there is a procedure to correct it.
Laser frenectomy is a procedure done on young children to separate the frenum from the tongue. A frenectomy (both traditional and laser) can help resolve this issue safely and easily.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of laser frenectomy, and how to identify tongue-tie in your infant or small children.
Tongue-Tie and Diagnosis
You can usually check for one type of tongue-tie, called anterior tongue-tie, by examining your infant’s mouth when they are crying, yawning, or opening their jaw. Their tongue will usually be heart-shaped due to the strain on the frenum.
Movement of the tongue may be limited, and the tongue may be unable to extend far out of the mouth. This is due to a shortened or tightened frenum. Your child may find it difficult to even lift their tongue.
A posterior tongue-tie will look more like the shape of a cup when examining your child’s tongue. If you are having trouble identifying the issue, a qualified and reputable dentist can make the judgement by having a look into your child’s mouth.
Always consult with a doctor or dentist to confirm cases of tongue-tie before seeking treatment.
Breastfeeding With Tongue-Tie
Due to the limited movement and peculiar position of the tongue, breastfeeding may be more difficult than normal. As the child gets older, they could also develop speech problems and other issues such as an inability to blow kisses or lick popsicles.
It may also be more difficult for them to maintain good oral hygiene. In order to prevent these problems and developmental issues, it is recommended to have a frenectomy done as soon as a tongue-tie is diagnosed.
For many mothers, breastfeeding is an integral part of the bond between mother and baby. The baby may be uncomfortable during feedings and unable to get the proper milk supply.
They could experience issues with weight gain and development. The mother may also experience pain during breastfeeding with an increased risk of breast infection.
What is laser frenectomy?
Laser frenectomy is a simple and non-invasive procedure done to treat tongue-tie in young children. It involves the use of a laser, which quickly and cleanly separates the frenum from the tongue.
Why choose laser frenectomy?
There are two methods of frenectomy practised by doctors. One is via laser, while the other is the more traditional cutting method done with scissors. Laser frenectomy is usually better recommended as it is faster, safer, and more convenient.
It can be done in a simple sitting and is less painful than the traditional method, so it does not require anesthesia.
The laser cauterizes the tissue, so there is less chance of bleeding and infection. There are no sutures to take care of or wounds to heal, and you can resume normal feeding right after the procedure.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of laser frenectomy for those who are diagnosed with tongue-tie are countless. Not only will you be able to breastfeed your baby properly, but your baby will also be well-fed and will sleep much better.
Their development will be less complicated, as your baby’s tongue will allow for normal functions such as licking, kissing, and tongue movement.
Your baby will also have a reduced risk of choking with the development of healthy swallowing and a strong tongue. Serious issues such as speech impediments and dental issues will be avoided, allowing for better social development in the future.
Overall, your baby will be much better off and you will rest easy as a parent knowing you made a wise decision in seeking early treatment for your child’s tongue-tie.
What to Expect
When booking a laser frenectomy treatment for your toddler or infant, you should go in expecting some basic aftercare. Always follow the instructions of your doctor and follow up with them as scheduled.
Keep in mind that your child will need to practise some gentle tongue exercises to increase mobility and movement in their tongue.
Your dentist or doctor will give you further instructions on this, and the exercises will usually need to be continued for a period of at least four weeks. This is to ensure that the frenum does not reattach to the tongue after treatment.
If your child develops a fever or there is cause for concern after treatment, always refer to your doctor or dentist as soon as possible.
Your child deserves to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Don’t let a small hiccup like tongue-tie get in the way of your child’s development.
Here at Milltown Dental, we prioritize the dental needs of your family. We take the utmost care in ensuring that your child is safe and comfortable throughout any procedure, including laser frenectomy.
For more information on laser frenectomy and to book a consultation within the GTA and Milton area, please call Milltown Dental at 905-878-8528 or contact us here. We believe in providing quality customer care to our new patients and their families. Contact us today to get started.