Questions And Answers About Frenectomies

Dentist Blog

If you suspect that your child has a short frenulum, which is commonly called tongue-tie, you may be concerned that your baby will not be able to nurse properly or that they will develop speech problems. Tongue-tie is indicated by an unusually short frenulum—the membrane that connects the baby's tongue to the floor of his or her mouth.  

Some babies with a short frenulum can nurse without a problem. However, others have a difficult time latching onto the breast securely. In addition, as a child reaches toddlerhood, a short frenulum could interfere with normal word formation, resulting in a speech impediment. Nevertheless, a frenectomy, or clipping of the frenulum, can be performed by a physician or dentist to allow the tongue to move more freely. Here are a few questions and answers about this procedure:

What are some of the signs that a frenectomy should be performed?

There are multiple indications that a frenectomy is needed. For example, if a nursing mother experiences great discomfort each time her baby latches onto her breast, the baby may be unable to latch on properly without the frenulum being clipped. Also, if the baby appears to be gaining little weight because of an insufficient amount of milk or if the tongue is only able to curl under instead of upward, a frenectomy may be in order.  

Toddlers or older children who need a frenectomy may find it difficult to move their tongue from side to side or touch the tip of their tongue to the roof of their mouth. They may also be unable to stick out their tongue past their upper or lower gums. Also, there may be persistent gap between the two teeth in the center of the bottom palate.

How is a frenectomy performed?

The physician or dentist can simply clip the frenulum or use a laser to cut the membrane. The procedure is generally painless and is completed in an office setting. The incision should extend to the point where the frenulum connects to the bottom of the tongue's base.

Do short frenulums ever correct on their own?

In some instances, short frenulums self-correct or loosen up over time. However, the frenulum should be clipped if a baby is unable to receive an adequate amount of milk while nursing due to the tongue's inability to curl upward or if it interferes with proper speech development.

To learn more about short frenulums and their treatment options, schedule an appointment with a dentist or physician in your area or click to read more.


27 October 2016

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