Some children are born with a certain degree of frenulum restriction, where their tongue and/or lips are attached to the mouth with excessive webbing. This is a congenital oral anomaly and limits the tongue’s range of motion. Tongue-tie, as it is known most commonly appears as a partial restriction and rarely as a complete fusion. This condition of limited tongue mobility can resolve in early childhood if the frenum ‘loosens’ by itself or may require a simple surgical procedure for correction to release the tongue. Laser frenectomy is a simple procedure done with a soft tissue laser to release the frenum under the tongue or upper lip to allow for better range of motion.
The dentist uses a laser beam to zap the frenulum from the lips and/or tongue without infiltrated anesthesia. However, in severe cases of highly attached frenum, a few drops of anesthetic will make the area numb enough for your child to tolerate it. The soft tissue laser does not cut, instead it vaporizes the tissue with light energy.
The Ideal Candidate
You are an ideal candidate for laser frenectomy if
- Your lingual frenum runs near or to the tip of the tongue
- Your labial frenum makes it difficult to wear dentures
- Your large labial frenum causes tooth gaps and other periodontal issues
It is also an ideal treatment option for babies who are unable to breast feed adequately due to limited tongue movement.
The Time Frame
A Laser frenectomy procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes to complete.
The Side effects
Your child may experience adverse reactions to anesthesia like dizziness, nausea and vision problems.
The Risks Involved
Laser frenectomy can cause the risk of nerve damage. It may range from a slight tingling sensation to total numbness at the surgical site. This is temporary and the sensations will resolve. However, in rare cases, the sensations may be completely lost.
The laser evoked bio-stimulation accelerates the healing process. Most adults and children report very minimal discomfort for the first two days after the procedure. Latching is a struggle at first due to the small amount of anesthetic used during the procedure. The child can suckle and hence can be breast fed immediately after the surgery. The breast milk contains antimicrobial and healing properties that can help the wound healing. Moreover, the simple act of breast feeding can also calm and comfort the child. Stretching exercises with quick and precise movements are crucial to prevent the regrowth of the frenum.
The result is beautiful tissue with less chance of relapse. The laser cauterizes and sterilizes the tissue, hence the chances of reattachment are nearly impossible.
Tongue-tie can interfere with the baby’s feeding and speech development. Most of all, it can impair your child’s self-esteem. A simple snip of the connecting membrane under the tongue with a soft tissue diode laser is all that is needed to correct this problem. If your child is diagnosed with Tongue-tie, opt for laser frenectomy immediately. Correct the structural anomaly and get your child up to normal tongue use!