If you’re curious about tongue tie or lip tie in your child, it’s a good idea to do a little homework to educate yourself. In this post I’ll briefly discuss what is a frenum and should you consider doing a pediatric frenectomy? For example, is there a difference between the conventional vs laser assisted frenectomies? What are the benefits of a laser frenectomy? Can a newborn frenectomy help with breastfeeding issues?
The frenum (or frenulum) is typically a small stretch of pinkish tissue (skin) that connects two organs together to prevent excess movement. The most relevant frena (plural for frenum) are the ones in the mouth. One connects the upper lip to your gums right at the midline (check under your lip as if you are trying to pick your nose). And the other is the band of tissue that stretches from the floor of your mouth to the base of your tongue (most visible when you open your mouth wide and try to lick your upper lip by sticking your tongue way up and out).
Like anything else, there can be too much of a good thing. And a restrictive (or super thick) frenum can alter normal mobility and function of the lip, tongue, or both. It can also play a negative role in the esthetics (like creating a gap between the teeth) or health of the gums/teeth (as it can cause recession or cavities).
No. This issue is not one whether you either have or do not have it. It’s the spectrum of severity and other variables that should be considered before making a decision to correct a lip tie or tongue tie.
Some of the considerations (in no particular order) whether you should consider a pediatric, toddler or newborn frenectomy may be:
Dr J Shahangian is a UCSD certified Lactation Educator. Check out his page for a lot more information on breastfeeding support and tethered tissues management.
If you and your provider are concluding that a frenectomy is warranted for either your newborn or toddler, here are some things to consider for timing:
Dr J Shahangian is a UCSD certified Lactation Educator. Check out this page for more information on what to expect and prepare for a newborn frenectomy and more.
In the past, this procedure was almost always done with cutting instruments (think scissors or scalpel). But nowadays, fewer and fewer providers are using the conventional technique, due to the advantages when using the laser frenectomy technology.
Here are the advantages of laser frenectomy:
Of course all the above benefits won't apply to all cases. And the more severe the tongue tie or lip tie, the more likely that even with laser assisted technique, some of the above issues can arise.
To get more details about the laser frenectomy procedure visit this very helpful page.
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Dr. J is a board certified pediatric dentist and owner of Scripps Pediatric Dentistry & Brush n Brace, pediatric dental offices located in San Diego, CA. He is not only a Diplomat with the board but now also has Fellow status with the AAPD. He is a proud father of 3 beautiful girls, a San Diego native, loves soccer and is passionate about pediatric oral health. His mission is battling the number 1 disease that he has seen take over our beloved children. #AskDrJ provides answers and solutions to parents questions & concerns regarding their children's oral health. Click here for a full list of articles from #AskDrJ