A Simple Procedure To Help With Speech And Dental Health

Lip-Ties and Tongue-Ties

It’s common to hear about someone being “tongue-tied,” but in the field of dentistry, it doesn’t just mean being at a loss for words. The tongue is attached to the base of the mouth by the lingual frenum, a thin, stretchy web of tissue. In some people, the frenum is abnormally thick or tight, restricting the movement of the tongue.

The lingual frenum isn’t the only one that can cause a problem. The labial frenum that connects the upper lip to the gums is another that is sometimes too thick or tight, making it difficult or impossible to move the upper lip away from the teeth.

What Is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a simple procedure that releases the lip or tongue, giving the patient the full range of motion they should have. Parents of a formerly lip- or tongue-tied child usually see immediate improvement after this procedure, and the recovery is quick and easy. Lip- or tongue-tied adults can benefit from a frenectomy as well if they didn’t undergo the procedure as a child.

Why Would a Frenectomy Be Needed?

A lingual or labial frenectomy would be necessary to relieve a number of difficult symptoms. This procedure might sound intimidating, but it’s a very simple one. The frenum, even if it’s thicker than it should be, doesn’t have nerves or muscle in it; it’s simply a web of connective tissue like an earlobe. The procedure takes less than ten minutes, and most patients feel back to normal within 24 hours — now with the ability to move their lip or tongue the way they should!

Symptoms of a tongue-tie include:

  • Difficulty latching while breastfeeding.
  • Difficulty lifting the tongue to the upper teeth.
  • Difficulty sweeping the lips with the tongue.
  • Inability to stick the tongue out past the lower front teeth.
  • Tongue appears notched or heart-shaped when extended.
  • Tendency for frenum to scrape against the lower teeth, sometimes getting pinched.

Symptoms of a lip-tie in an infant include:

  • Difficulty latching or breathing while breastfeeding, possibly with clicking sounds.
  • Being extremely fatigued by nursing, to the point of falling asleep.
  • Reflux due to swallowing too much air.

What Happens If a Lip-tie or Tongue-Tie Isn’t Treated?

The restricted movement of the upper lip or tongue can lead to other problems if not corrected, including:

  • Colic and slow weight gain or no weight gain in an infant.
  • Speech difficulties, particularly with sounds like d, l, r, s, t, and z.
  • Poor saliva management while eating or speaking.
  • Issues with the airway and breathing during sleep.

Types of Frenectomies at Smile Center for Kids

At Smile Center for Kids, we treat lip-ties with lingual frenectomies and tongue-ties with labial frenectomies. We are certified to use a soft tissue CO2 laser in lip tie surgery and tongue tie surgery to reduce or remove the frenum. Dentists have been performing CO2 laser procedures since the 1960s because of their accuracy and efficiency. The result is a much easier recovery for the patient.

Why Come to Smile Center for Kids for Your Child’s Frenectomy?

At Smile Center for Kids, we are very familiar with frenectomies. Our dentists have years of experience performing this procedure and working with kids. We have the best equipment to make it a comfortable and easy experience for your child.

If you think a lingual frenectomy may help you or a family member, let us know! We can diagnose lip-ties and tongue-ties and treat them at our child-friendly office. Please give us a call at either our Sunland Park Drive location (915) 213-1200 or our Edgemere location (915) 493-6310.