Laser Frenectomies – Pelham, NH
Giving Your Child Greater Oral Function
Though it is common for children to be born with a tongue or lip-tie, it is likely that your pediatric dentist will discuss the possibility of clipping these areas while your little one is young enough to prevent possible problems in the future. Why? Although these bands of tissue located underneath the tongue or upper lip can pose no issues for some children, others require a frenectomy to ensure full mobility.
At Simply Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, our team can easily release these bands using the Solea laser – a unique solution that offers quick and easy results. To find out more about whether your child should undergo this simple procedure, contact our office to schedule an appointment today!
What is a Laser Frenectomy?
A laser frenectomy is a procedure used to release the band of tissue located under the tongue and/or upper lip. When these tissues appear too thick and short, it can make it more difficult for your child to freely move their lip and/or tongue. Using the Solea laser, our team can quickly correct this issue and give your child greater mobility and oral functioning.
A laser frenectomy removes the complete frenulum (band of tissue) while a laser frenuloplasty releases the tissue to ensure your child’s lip or tongue is no longer restricted. If left untreated, your child can face various problems ranging from difficulty breastfeeding to speech and sleep disorders.
How Is It Performed?
Although some dentists prefer the traditional scalpel and suture method, the team at Simply Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics uses the Solea laser. You should know that this device vaporizes the tissue instead of cutting it. Using light energy, the laser cauterizes while moving along the band, allowing for little-to-no bleeding. The use of a Solea laser also makes it possible for the area to remain sterile, lowering the risk of infection.
By using a soft tissue laser, we can make this simple process even easier because there is virtually no pain involved. While your child may become fussy because of the position in which they are laying, the laser quickly vaporizes the band of tissue with clear precision. In a matter of minutes, your little one will be back in your arms and experiencing a greater range of motion, allowing them to begin feeding with more ease.
Why Are Frenectomies Necessary?
An untreated lip or tongue-tie can post a series of problems are babies grow older. Children, teens, and even adults can develop issues that include:
- Increased spacing between their upper front two teeth (known as diastema)
- Increased risk of tooth decay
- Difficulty brushing and flossing their teeth
- Risk for damage or trauma to the lip tie because it is low
- Difficulty breastfeeding
- Potential problems with speech as they grow
- Increased risk for poor gum health and the need for periodontal therapy
- Difficulty sleeping and could develop sleep apnea
- Chronic jaw pain
What Are the Benefits of a Frenectomy?
When discussing the possibility of a frenectomy with your child’s pediatric dentist, you will find there to be many benefits to moving forward with this procedure, some of which include:
- Easier time breastfeeding and latch improvement
- Less pain while breastfeeding
- Increased weight gain for your infant
- Improved speech and oral health for your child, especially if they are a bit older
- Less chance of developing tooth decay, gum disease, or other dental health problems
- Increased self-esteem
- Greater likeliness of avoiding sleep issues
The Solea laser minimizes the need for prolonged recovery times; however, there are certain steps you must take to prevent the bands of tissue from reattaching.
- Make sure you are maintaining a relaxed and happy demeanor to keep your child calm and less stressed during the stretching exercises
- All stretching exercises should be quick and precise
- In the initial days after a frenectomy, it is not uncommon for minimal bleeding or spotting to occur while performing the exercises
- By performing the exercises frequently, you avoid the potential for having to reopen the tissue that has reattached
- Should your child experience any discomfort, you may use Tylenol or Ibuprofen (only if your child is 6 months or older)
Upper Lip Stretches
- Placing your finger in the fold of the upper lip, move it as high as it will go and hold for 3-5 seconds.
- Repeat as many times as your pediatric dentist in Pelham recommends
- Remember, you want to keep this area open to make sure the tissue does not reattach
Under Tongue Stretches
- You will notice there appears to be a diamond-shaped area underneath the tongue. You will need to place both index fingers under the tongue and raise the back part of the tongue, lifting upward toward the roof of the mouth.
- You will hold it for 3-5 seconds before relaxing the tongue and repeating the process.
- You will then need to insert one index finger into the floor of the mouth at the fold (looks like a diamond) and force it toward the base of your child’s neck for 3-5 seconds.
You can trust that our team will show you how to perform these stretching exercises before you and your child return home. We understand this part of the process might seem a bit daunting, which is why we are here to help you through it every step of the way.
Lip & Tongue-Tie FAQs
Please know that any questions you have about laser frenectomies are welcome here, even if they seem silly. After all, we want you to feel completely informed about this treatment – starting with what to expect during the consultation. Our Pelham pediatric dental team is just a phone call away if you want to talk to us directly before your child’s appointment. Otherwise, you can read on for the answers to common questions parents have about lip and tongue-ties!
Is My Child Old Enough to Get Lip or Tongue-Tie Treatment?
The thought of your tiny baby going through a procedure of any kind can incite anxiety at first. However, it’s very common for infants to get lip and tongue-tie treatment so any problems with latching, oral function, and feeding are addressed early on. In other words, there isn’t really an age minimum.
Does a Frenectomy Hurt?
At Simply Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we use a Solea laser instead of the scalpel and suture method. As a result, the tissue isn’t cut – it’s vaporized! This results in virtually no pain for your little one (as well as little-to-no bleeding and a lower risk of infection).
How Long Does a Frenectomy Take?
From start to finish, the procedure usually can be completed in a matter of minutes. Of course, there are some cases where more time is required, like if the frenulum is especially thick. Don’t worry – we will provide you with all of the details of your child’s treatment during your consultation, including an estimate of how long their appointment will be.
What Could Happen If My Child Doesn’t Get Treatment for a Lip or Tongue-Tie?
Since lip and tongue-ties don’t go away on their own, not getting your child the treatment they need can have several consequences. For example, if they are having trouble feeding, then they can struggle to gain weight. It can also negatively impact their development by making it more difficult to chew solid foods efficiently as well as enunciate certain words.
How Long Does It Take to See Improvement After a Frenectomy?
In many cases, the improvement is nearly instant! However, if you’ve tried feeding a few times and your little one is still having some difficulty, don’t stress – this is normal as well. It’s likely due to your child getting used to their newfound movement.
How Will You Keep My Baby Still for the Frenectomy?
Typically, we swaddle them! In addition to keeping your little one calm, comfortable, and warm, this ensures that they remain still as we complete the procedure.