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Frenectomy Lanie Family Dentistry

What is a frenectomy?

A frenectomy or frenotomy is a procedure that severs a binding tissue and frees up movement. In the case of dentistry, this usually involves the lingual frenum, which is a tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. In the cases where it is needed, this procedure will free up the tongue and provide a greater range of movement.

What is a frenectomy used to treat?

A frenectomy is often recommended as a treatment for Ankyloglossia in children, which is more commonly known as tongue-tie.

The lingual frenum, the band of tissue linking the bottom of the tongue to the mouth, serves an important function: It helps keep your tongue in place and stops you from swallowing it. However, when it develops abnormally, it can cause complications.   

One of the major complications of tongue-tie is that it can cause problems with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding requires the ability to keep the tongue over the lower gum. If a baby is unable to do so, he or she will chew instead of suck on the nipple. This can be painful for the mother while also leading to malnutrition in the baby.

Other complications include difficulty with speech as it can restrict the ability of the tongue to move in the ways necessary to produce certain sounds. A tighter frenulum can also lead to poor oral hygiene, as it may make it difficult for one to brush properly, contributing to gingivitis and tooth decay. It can also create gaps in the front bottom teeth and prevent activities like licking one’s lips, playing a wind instrument, and kissing.

Does my child need treatment for tongue-tie?

Not all instances of tongue-tie require treatment, as the problem can fix itself over time or is minor enough to persist without causing any problems. Concerning symptoms of Ankyloglossia you should look out for include:

  • A heart-shaped tongue
  • Difficulty pushing his or her tongue out past the lower front teeth
  • Trouble lifting his or her tongue up to the upper teeth
  • Issues moving his or her tongue side-to-side
  • Issues with breastfeeding
  • Issues with speech
  • Issues eating
  • Complains about restriction, pain, or discomfort in the tongue area

If you notice your child having problems related to tongue-tie, we recommend scheduling a consultation with Dr. Lanie. The process of a frenectomy is quick and causes minimal discomfort.

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