Infant Lip/Tongue Tie
A lingual frenectomy is a form of oral surgery that removes bands of tissue connecting the floor of the mouth and the underside of the tongue. Patients with this condition are referred to as tongue-tied and often struggle with eating, swallowing, or speaking.
What is Tongue-Tie?
The frenulum is the thin tissue connecting the bottom of the mouth and the tongue. Some children have a very short frenulum when they are born. Since the tongue is an incredibly important organ for speaking and swallowing, these actions are much more difficult when the frenulum is shorter. Newborns may have trouble nursing if they have a short frenulum, making weight gain harder.
This condition is known as tongue-tie or ankyloglossia and can also lead to dental problems in children. It may call for surgery in the form of a lingual frenectomy, which removes the frenulum. Dr. Darren S. Huddleston, DMD makes a small incision on the frenulum to free up the tongue.
Benefits of Lingual Frenectomy
The procedure is quick, lasting only a few minutes. The recovery is also swift, as the discomfort will subside after a few days. You’ll experience improvements in speech, eating, swallowing, and (for infants) nursing.
Risks and Side Effects
Dr. Darren S. Huddleston, DMD will let you know what kinds of risks and potential side effects may occur before beginning the oral surgery. The most common risks for this procedure are pain, inflammation, infection, excessive bleeding, and nerve damage to the tongue and mouth, along with the risks from anesthesia if we use any. There’s also a chance the frenulum will reattach, but this is rare.
Before the Procedure
Dr. Darren S. Huddleston, DMD will give you instructions on how to prepare for oral surgery. This includes abstaining from food and water for a few hours before the procedure, depending on whether or not anesthesia is used. Remember to fill any prescriptions beforehand, so they’re ready once you get home.
During the Procedure
The first thing Dr. Darren S. Huddleston, DMD will do is use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the frenulum. If the patient is a child, they may receive general anesthesia. The dentist will then use a scalpel or laser to make a slight incision on the frenulum to free up the tongue. The final step is usually attaching a few stitches in the mouth to aid the healing process.
After the Procedure
After the oral surgery is successfully completed, we will give you some instructions on what to do during the recovery period. We will also schedule a follow-up appointment about a week after the procedure to make sure your mouth is healing properly. If there’s any risk of scarring, which can lead to the frenulum reattaching, we want to catch it as early as possible.
Keep children off of their bellies, as this puts pressure on their jaw and can hinder the healing process. Patients should also refrain from rinsing out their mouths for the first 24 hours after surgery. After a day or so elapses, it is recommended that you rinse out your mouth with salt water several times per day.
For more information, please contact our office, The Center for Esthetic Dentistry at 541-507-0999.