A pediatric tongue or lip tie can impact your child’s orofacial development as well as their ability to eat, swallow, breathe, and speak properly. In some cases, your child’s dental or medical care provider may recommend a procedure to release the tie, called a frenectomy. A frenectomy can be done through traditional surgical methods or with the use of a laser.
What is a Frenectomy?
In the mouth, a frenulum joins the lips to your gums and another the tongue to the floor of your mouth. A frenectomy is an oral procedure that treats lip-tie or tongue-tie. During the procedure, the dentist, doctor, or surgeon cuts or modifies the frenulum, a band of connective tissue joining two areas. The tissue can be modified or severed using scalpels or other blades, or a laser. There are pros and cons to each type of method.
The Benefits of Laser Frenectomies
A laser frenectomy is typically an outpatient procedure that usually takes only two-three minutes. Since the procedure is minimally invasive and over rather quickly, it’s less traumatizing to your child than a more involved, traditional surgical procedure. In addition, laser surgery doesn’t require general anesthesia or sedation. Not only is this less time-consuming, but it’s also safer for your child. Other benefits of a laser frenectomy include the following:
Laser tongue-tie surgery has minimal to no bleeding involved. The lasers our dentists use to burn the frenulum cauterizes the blood vessels or causes them to essentially close off. While that might sound intimidating, it’s much more precise than traditional tongue-tie surgical techniques.
While this procedure is still slightly uncomfortable, it is a lot easier for pediatric patients to tolerate than the surgical procedure of scissors or other sharp surgical instruments. This makes the procedure more manageable for infants and small children.
Less Recovery Time
Without the need for general anesthesia or sedation, the recovery time is much shorter than that of traditional frenectomies. Since the blood vessels are already closed off via the laser, healing is already a step ahead, and there is decreased risk of infection, which can also speed up recovery time.
Decreased Risk of Reattachment
Frenectomies are intended to be permanent. However, there is a risk of the frenulum growing back or reattaching. No matter what type of procedure your child has, be sure to stretch your child’s tongue as directed by your dental professional to prevent reattachment after the procedure. Since laser surgery is exceptionally accurate at removing the membrane restricting the tongue, there is a decreased risk for reattachment.
Frenectomies at Dream Smiles
At Dream Smiles, Pediatric Dentistry of Gaithersburg, our board certified pediatric dentists will thoroughly evaluate your infant or child to assess the anatomy, function, appearance, and tongue and lip movement. If they feel either frenulum is too short, they will discuss treatment options, pros, and cons, and determine together with you if a laser frenectomy would benefit your child.