Let’s start by answering, “What is a tongue or lip tie?” Tongue and lip ties are present at birth. A tongue tie is when the lingual frenulum, which connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, is too short, thick, or tight and interferes with normal tongue movement. Lip ties are similar, but is when the maxillary labial frenulum connecting the upper lip to the gums causes mobility issues with the lips.
What complications can come from a tongue or lip tie? A lip or tongue tie can negatively impact a baby’s development. It can make latching difficult, contribute to failure to thrive, cause colic and reflux, and cause nursing pain for the mother. In later years, a child with a tongue or lip tie might experience difficulty with speech, eating, or drinking.
Fortunately, a solution exists — laser frenectomy. As your experts in pediatric oral care, board certified, Dr. Kirby Goodwine, and the team at Naperville’s Innovative Pediatric Dentistry offers five things to know about tongue and lip ties and their solutions.
Who Can Perform a Laser Frenectomy?
Laser frenectomies can be performed by dentists — like your pediatric dentists at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry — or oral and maxillofacial surgeons, pediatricians, ENTs, and other medical specialties.
Who is a Candidate for Lip or Tongue Tie Laser Release?
Anyone who has a tongue or lip frenulum that’s too short, tight, or thick is a typical candidate for a laser frenectomy.
What Happens During Treatment?
A laser frenectomy looks different depending on whether it’s for the release of a lip or tongue frenulum. A laser lingual frenectomy is the laser ablation of the lingual frenum that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. A laser labial frenectomy is the ablation of the tissue that attaches the midline of the upper lip or lower lip to the gums.
Sometimes patients receive local anesthesia, then the laser both snips and cauterizes the frenulum. Depending on the complexity of the lip or tongue tie, a few stitches might also be needed.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
The procedure itself is a same-day treatment and takes about 15 minutes. Typically, babies can nurse right away. Full recovery takes about four weeks, with any stitches dissolving within the first week.
What Are Its Benefits?
For babies, a lip or tongue release can improve latching and allow for successful feeding and weight gain. In children, lip and tongue tie release can help with speech and eating.
About Innovative Pediatric Dentistry
Naperville’s award-winning pediatric dentists at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry go the extra mile to make dental care fun, comfortable, and anxiety-free. With special training to care for children’s developing mouths, we use innovative technology and techniques to guarantee kids visit and leave the dentist with smiles on their faces. We love helping babies all the way to thirteen years old on their journey of great oral health!