Laser Lip and Tongue Tie Frenectomies
The pediatric dentists at Tender Smiles 4 Kids provide laser lip and tongue tie frenectomies for patients in Freehold, Brunswick, Edison, Roselle and Ocean. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your appointment at one of our 5 New Jersey offices.
We use soft tissue lasers for lip and tongue tie frenectomy treatments. These lasers release tethered oral tissues quickly and effectively, improving feeding, speech, and swallowing problems in infants, children, teens, and adults. In older children, soft tissue lasers can also be used to remove excess tissue prior to orthodontic treatment.
Lip and tongue ties are often diagnosed by pediatricians or lactation consultants in infancy as a result of feeding difficulties. Symptoms of lip or tongue tie in infants include:
- Nursing ulcers on the lips
- Gulping or clicking sounds while nursing
- Gumming or biting nipples
- Milk leaking from the sides of the mouth while feeding
- Choking easily
- Frequent releasing and relatching
- Shallow latching
- Long feeding sessions, often with the baby falling asleep mid-feed
- Colic, gas, or reflex
- Poor weight gain or weight loss
- Inability to hold a pacifier in the mouth
A breastfeeding mother also experiences symptoms associated with her infant’s lip or tongue tie, including:
- Painful nursing
- Decreased milk supply
- Painful nipples, with cracking, blisters, and bleeding
- Frequent mastitis
- Breasts are not emptied after feeding
- Physical discomfort with nursing
Sometimes a lip or tongue tie is not diagnosed in infancy and causes feeding and swallowing issues in older children. Signs that a frenectomy is needed are as follows:
- Poor weight gain
- Difficulty chewing
- Refusal to eat
- Picky eating: eating only certain types of foods or refusing new foods
- Wet-sounding voice after eating or drinking
- A history of recurring lung infections
With soft tissue lasers, tongue and lip ties can be released in a simple five to 10 minute procedure with only topical anesthetic to numb the area. There is little-to-no bleeding or pain after the procedure—in fact, your infant will be able to breastfeed immediately following their frenectomy. For older children, local anesthetic and sedation may be needed, but the procedure and recovery are otherwise the same.
Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Lip and Tongue Tie Frenectomies
Is tongue tie surgery necessary?
Tongue tie surgery is not always necessary, but if your child’s pediatrician or lactation consultant recommends it, it’s likely a good idea. The procedure is simple, safe, and has minimal risks or side effects.
Is tongue tie surgery painful?
Laser lip and tongue tie frenectomies cause very little pain. We use topical or local anesthetic prior to treatment so there is no pain during the procedure and recovery is more comfortable when the surgery is performed with a laser instead of surgical scissors.
At what age can tongue tie be treated?
Tongue tie can be treated as soon as it is diagnosed, even if a baby is only a few days old. If tongue tie is causing significant issues with feeding and swallowing, it’s important to get necessary treatment to ensure that your child is getting the nutrition they need to grow.
Will my child need to be put to sleep for a frenectomy?
We perform laser frenectomies under only local anesthesia. The patient will be awake but will feel no pain. This allows for faster recovery time and lower risk to the patient.
Is a frenectomy a permanent solution?
In most cases only one procedure will be necessary. However, in some cases the frenulum tissue can grow back or reattach, requiring a repeat of the procedure. These cases are rare at our practice because we take the necessary precautions during the initial procedure and with follow-up visits to prevent reattachment.
Does a frenectomy solve breastfeeding issues immediately?
Not necessarily. In many cases additional breastfeeding support is necessary to establish proper latching technique after a frenectomy. A lactation consultant can help with this process following the procedure to help overcome improper habits caused by the condition.
What are the benefits of laser frenectomy?
Laser technology is the latest development in frenectomy procedures. In the past, scissors or a scalpel were used to cut the frenulum, which resulted in more pain and bleeding. The use of a laser allows for the least invasive procedure with a faster recovery time.
How long will it take to heal?
Babies and children typically recover faster from a frenectomy than adults will. But on average any pain will subside within 2-5 days with full recovery in about 6 weeks.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.