Frenectomy/Tongue-Tie TreatmentSuffolk, VA
Does your child’s tongue seem to be connected to the floor of their mouth? Is it difficult for them to eat, swallow, speak, or breastfeed? If so, your child may need to undergo a simple yet effective treatment. A frenectomy, or tongue-tie treatment, is a procedure in which a small surgical cut is made to release the tongue from the excess tissue.
Frenectomy or tongue-tie treatment is available at Fun Park Pediatric Dentistry in Suffolk and the surrounding area. We know it could be alarming to see an unusual condition in your child and worry when they are unable to perform certain basic tasks such as eating. However, a rather short treatment and quick recovery period will allow your child to return to everyday activities. Call us today at (757) 767-2767to learn more or schedule an appointment.
What is a Frenectomy or Tongue-Tie Treatment
A frenectomy, commonly referred to as tongue-tie treatment in dentistry, is a surgery in which the frenulum, a small thick tissue, is removed to allow a restrained organ to move. The frenulum is associated with either the tongue attached to the base of the mouth or the lips attached to the gums. This can limit an infant or child’s ability to eat, breastfeed, swallow, and speak and can further impact these tasks in later years.
When the bottom of the tongue’s tip is tethered to the base of the mouth, it is difficult to extend the tongue past the lower teeth or reach the upper teeth. Tongue-tie treatment releases the tongue’s restraint, allowing it to move. Though the treatment is considered invasive, it is a simple, short procedure that could prevent many more complications in the future, especially when done in infanthood.
Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis
Generally, the lingual frenulum is separated before birth, allowing free-range motion, but in some cases, it stays intact. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Although tongue-tie can affect anyone, it's more common in boys than girls.” The root cause of all tongue-tie cases is still unknown, but cases have found it has a hereditary link and can be the result of environmental factors.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
In a few cases, tongue-tie resolves on its own. If your child’s symptoms affect their well-being, such as difficulty in breastfeeding, it is crucial to contact your pediatrician. A comprehensive team composed of your pediatrician, lactation specialist, and your pediatric dentist will advise if a tongue-tie release is necessary to improve feeding and as a team coordinate care. Speech delay is a multifactorial issue, in some careful selected cases, a tongue-tie release may solve speech delay or difficulty without speech therapy. In most and all other cases it is recommended to work with a speech therapist before and after tongue-tie release.
Diagnosing a child with tongue-tie often occurs early in infancy, typically in the hospital when they are born or soon after. The Journal of Applied Oral Science found that “its prevalence is around 4.4% to 4.8% in newborns, with a male to female ratio.” It is highly recommended that parents and doctors discuss the urgency of treatment in the beginning stages as prolonging may cause further complications.
How to Prepare
Before the child’s initial consultation, the patient should prepare to answer questions regarding their child’s specific health needs, and prepare questions of their own. Some questions we may ask are: whether or not the child is having difficulty breastfeeding/eating, having trouble speaking or pronouncing certain word. The dentist will conduct a thorough examination and discuss the subsequent steps. They will also be able to explain the type of surgery, traditional or laser, that will be performed as well as tips to continue at home before and after the procedure.
Tongue-tie treatment is a simple and quick procedure but may require local anesthesia depending on the patient’s age. The report, Frenectomy for the Correction of Ankyloglossia, suggests that frenectomies can be performed using a laser, scalpel, or surgical scissors but “the laser procedure is suggested to be more accurate, and provide greater patient-perceived success.” Advances in technology have allowed us to perform safer invasive procedures on infants as early as one day old. Your provider will discuss the best method for you and your child.
Results and Recovery
Although tongue-tie treatment results vary from patient to patient, best outcomes are achieved post surgery with therapy . In most cases, an infant is able to breastfeed immediately after the surgery. According to The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health review, there is “a range of outcomes including breastfeeding efficacy, feeding outcomes, functional outcomes (e.g., ability to clean teeth with tongue, lick lips, etc.)”. Although extremely rare, risks include bleeding, infection, damage to the tongue or salivary glands, and the possibility of the frenulum reattaching to the base of the tongue. We will discuss these risks during the consultation.
In most cases, complete healing from the treatment can take from 24 hours to two weeks, shorter in laser treatment. The patient, regardless of age, can eat as soon as they leave the office. It is highly discouraged to eat food that is hard and needs to be chewed for a long time. Patients should also refrain from citrus and other acidic foods as well as food that is too hot, cold, spicy, or sharp, as these might increase discomfort or healing time.
Do Not Delay
Be proactive in addressing your concerns regarding tongue-tie treatment for your child. We at Fun Park Pediatric Dentistry look forward to treating your little one. Call us now at (757) 767-2767to learn more and schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does tongue-tie treatment hurt?
The frenulum, or excess tissue under the tongue, is very thin and has very few nerves. Therefore, patients experience little to no pain. For newborns, anesthesia is generally not used, but the dentist may use a topical numbing ointment on the tongue. The procedure is seemingly harmless and pain-free for young babies especially.
Can tongue-tie come back after I’ve done the surgery?
Tongue ties do not “come back” or regrow, but the tissue can reattach to the base of the tongue if the patient is not diligent about following through with post-treatment instructions and exercises. Proper hygiene is crucial for healing and recovery as well as avoiding reattachment. Eating the right foods and maintaining oral health, provided by the dentist, can expedite recovery and eliminate other health issues.
Can speech therapy help relieve or restore tongue-tie without surgery?
Speech therapy can relieve speech impediment in many cases without tongue-tie surgery. At Fun Park Pediatric Dentistry, Dr Somefun recommend always working with a speech therapist before attempting tongue-tie surgery
Can a lactation specialist help my baby latch without tongue-tie treatment?
Babies can often latch and breastfeed with tongue or lip tie, Dr Somefun alway recommends in the cases where latching is difficult and painful to mothers to always work with a lactation specialist before and after surgery for the best results.
Is there a certain age for tongue-tie treatment?
Tongue-tie treatment is available for babies as early as one day old up to adults of any age. Tongue-tie can often go unnoticed or have a minor effect on certain individuals through adulthood, and many people may forego the procedure. A dentist will generally alert a patient if the treatment is necessary for their case.
What will happen if I don’t treat tongue-tie?
Patients who choose not to address a tongue-tie issue may never experience any discomfort or trouble eating, speaking, swallowing, or breastfeeding. Dentists and medical doctors will assess the patient’s case and need for the procedure before guiding them to go through with the surgery. In severe cases, or when a patient/infant is having difficulty performing certain tasks, there may be complications if the condition is not treated.
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