Has your pediatrician or dentist recommended a frenectomy? This relatively common procedure is done for babies and children who are lip or tongue-tied, meaning the frenulum is restricting movement of the tongue or lips. The frenulum is the tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of your mouth and the inside of the lips to the gums. For some children this skin is too tight and a frenectomy can be done to release the tension.
If you are hesitant to agree to this procedure for your child, it may help to get some more information. Learn why a frenectomy is an important procedure and why it is best to have it done at a young age.
Potential Problems From Delaying Frenectomy
Delaying the frenectomy procedure can lead to a variety of problems now and as the child grows, such as:
- Breastfeeding problems for babies. One of the first signs of tongue-tie or lip-tie is when a baby has difficulty latching properly to breastfeed. The baby’s tongue and lips need to be positioned a certain way to adequately receive milk from the mother. When the frenulum restricts this movement it can prevent babies from getting the nutrients they need. Babies may have to switch to bottle feeding pumped breast milk or formula.
- Breastfeeding problems for mothers. When your baby fails to latch properly, it can cause pain when breastfeeding and leaves you feeling sore afterwards. Your milk supply will also suffer as the baby is unable to fully empty the milk ducts, and therefore your body won’t produce as much milk. You also miss out on the bonding experience between you and your baby, potentially leading to separation anxiety and sleep issues.
- Speech problems for children. As the child grows and learns to talk, tongue and lip tie can lead to speech problems and mispronunciation of a variety of sounds. These speech problems will often follow them into elementary school and even further as they grow into an adult. Speech therapy may help, but it may not be enough to eliminate speech problems that are inherent from early childhood.
- Eating problems for children. As the child grows their eating problems may continue as they transition to solid foods. They may have difficulty chewing and swallowing properly, often gagging or choking. Foods and drinks may dribble from their mouth. Children who are lip or tongue-tied are more likely to be picky eaters who prefer to eat the same foods all the time.
- Problems continue into adulthood. Many of these problems will continue into adulthood if a frenectomy is never done. Dental health becomes a bigger issue related to tongue and lip-tie in adults, as decay and gum disease are more likely to occur. Some adults finally end up getting a frenectomy later in life in order to help their dentures fit better.
Benefits of Frenectomies in Infants
There are many benefits when a frenectomy is performed in infancy. The procedure is less invasive and recovery is much faster. Babies can start to breastfeed right away after a frenectomy, which accelerates healing and helps soothe them. There are no benefits to delaying the procedure, as it will only be more stressful for the child as they grow older and more aware.
Tender Smiles 4 Kids Provides Frenectomies
If your child needs a frenectomy, or if you’ve noticed some of the signs of tongue or lip-tie, don’t wait. Schedule a frenectomy today with Tender Smiles 4 Kids. After an evaluation to determine whether or not a frenectomy is needed, we can perform the procedure using a minimally invasive dental laser. Breastfeeding and other problems most often work themselves out naturally after the procedure.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.