Frenectomy

At Alexandria Children’s Dentistry, we use Laser Technology to repair tongue-ties.

We all have a frenum. A frenum encompasses the small folds of tissue that connect to mobile organs, like our tongues. Some people have a frenum that is too tight or low. Infants, specifically may suffer from a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia. This is a condition which may cause problems with breastfeeding. A tight frenum may also cause dental health consequences over time. At Alexandria Children’s Dentistry, we can remove a tight frenum with laser frenectomy. Using a laser to perform frenectomies, ensures a fast, virtually painless, and anesthesia-free procedure.

You may notice that your child needs a frenectomy when they are unable to properly latch during breastfeeding. This can lead to weight loss and colic in the infant, and painful nursing and low milk supply for the mother. You probably don’t even notice your frenum, until they become a problem. Most of our patients are tongue-tie infants who are struggling to eat properly. But we also see older patients with abnormal frenum that make speaking or other activities difficult.

Traditionally, tongue-ties were repaired by surgically removing the tissue with a scalpel. Today, Dr. Angela Austin recommends laser frenectomy for infants, children, and adults alike. At Alexandria Children’s Dentistry, we invest in the best and most cutting-edge dental technologies to help our patients. We use the Solea Laser for our tongue-tie laser frenectomy patients.

How long does a frenectomy take to heal?

Fortunately, laser frenectomy recovery time is much faster than with a traditional surgery. After the laser frenectomy procedure, patients reported less postoperative pain and better function. Since patients generally don’t need anesthesia, there’s also less downtime after the frenectomy with laser. And, the laser itself encourages healing of the tissues in the mouth.

Talk to your dentist about the specific aftercare instructions they have. To help with the laser frenectomy recovery, you may need to do post-procedure stretches or wound-care. Dr. Angela Austin goes over all of this in step-by-step detail. She’ll also demonstrate how to do this on young infants.

We know visiting the dentist can be intimidating, especially when it’s for your infant. At Alexandria Children’s Dentistry, we work hard to ensure that our patients know what to expect before and after their procedure. If you need help correcting your infant’s tongue-tie, schedule a consultation today. Our caring and compassionate office team is always ready to answer any questions you have.

After the Procedure:

Wound Management

1. Any open oral wound likes to contract towards the center of that wound as it is healing (hence the need to keep it dilated open).
2. If you have two raw surfaces in the mouth in close proximity, they will reattach.


STRETCHES
The main risk of a frenotomy is that the mouth heals so quickly that it may prematurely reattach at either the tongue site or the lip site, causing a new limitation in mobility and the persistence or return of symptoms. The exercises demonstrated below are best done with the baby placed in your lap (or lying on a bed) with the feet going away from you. 
Post-procedure stretches are the key to getting an optimal result. These stretches are NOT meant to be forceful or prolonged. It's best to be quick and precise with your movements.
You may use Tylenol, Ibuprofen (if 6 months of age or older), arnica, Rescue Remedy or other measures to help with pain control.

DAY OF SURGERY:   Do one stretch on the evening of surgery

DAY AFTER SURGERY:   Streches should be done 3-5 X per day for the first 3 weeks. Diaper changes are a god time to do the exercises.


SUCKING EXERCISES
These exercises should be playful and enjoyable for your child. Try to sing a song or find a strategy to relax your child.

3. Slowly rub the lower gumline from side to side and your baby's tongue will follow your finger. This will help strengthen the lateral movements of the tongue.
4. Let your child suck on your finger and do a tug-of-war, slowly trying to pull your finger out while they try to suck it back in. This strengthens the tongue itself. This can also be done with a pacifier.
5. Let your child suck your finger and apply gentle pressure to the palate, and then roll your finger over and gently press down on the tongue and stroke the middle of the tongue. Alternatively, once the baby starts to suck on your finger, just press down with the back of your nail into the tongue. This usually interrupts the sucking motion while the baby pushes back against you.
6. With one index finger inside the baby's cheek, use your thumb outside the cheek to massage the cheeks on either side to help lessen the tension.

STARTING SEVERAL DAYS AFTER THE PROCEDURE, THE WOUND(S) WILL LOOK WHITE AND/OR YELLOW. THIS IS NORMAL HEALING.
FOLLOW-UP WITH YOUR LACTATION CONSULTANT AFTER THE PROCEDURE TO ENSURE OPTIMAL RESULTS.


CALL OUR OFFICE FOR ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
Uncontrolled bleeding, Refusal to nurse or take a bottle, Fever > 101.5