Dr. Meriano & Dr. Gumber, Pediatric Dentists

Frenectomy

About Frenectomy

A frenectomy is a precise surgical procedure that involves the removal of a small fold of tissue known as a frenum. This frenum can be found in various parts of the mouth, such as the tongue, lips, or cheeks. The purpose of a frenectomy is to address issues related to limited mobility or discomfort caused by an overly restrictive frenum. By removing or modifying this tissue, individuals can experience improved speech, enhance dental hygiene, and reduce orthodontic challenges.

A dentist, oral surgeon, or ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist typically performs frenectomies, which can be completed with a scalpel or laser. Generally speaking, the process can be completed fast and comfortably.

Types of Frenectomy

Lingual Frenectomy:

This procedure addresses issues with the lingual frenulum, which is the piece of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. A tight or short lingual frenulum can lead to a condition known as ankyloglossia or “tongue-tie,” which can affect speech and breastfeeding in infants.

Labial Frenectomy:

Labial frenula are located inside the upper and lower lips. A labial frenectomy may be necessary when the frenulum between the upper front teeth (known as the maxillary labial frenulum) is too tight or positioned too low, causing a gap between the front teeth, known as a diastema.

The signs that a baby might need a frenectomy include:
  • Difficulty latching on to the breast.
  • Poor weight gain
  • Nipple pain or damage
  • Fussiness or colic
  • Clicking or popping sounds during feeding

Please note that not all infants exhibiting these symptoms have a tongue or lip-tie, and other infants with these conditions may not show any overt symptoms. It’s crucial to speak with a physician or lactation consultant if you think your infant could have a tongue-tie or lip-tie so they can assess your baby’s feeding and determine whether a frenectomy might be required.

Frenectomy and breastfeeding

A frenectomy, a simple and effective medical procedure, can play a crucial role in supporting successful breastfeeding for both mothers and infants. This procedure addresses tongue-tie and lip-tie conditions, which can restrict a baby’s ability to latch onto the breast properly. By releasing these tight oral tissues, frenectomy enhances a baby’s ability to nurse effectively, improving their overall breastfeeding experience. This not only promotes better milk transfer but also helps prevent issues like nipple pain and low milk supply for mothers. Frenectomy is a valuable solution for breastfeeding challenges, ensuring a smoother and more comfortable nursing journey for both mother and child.

Is a frenectomy painful?

For infants, frenectomies are typically done to address breastfeeding difficulties caused by tongue-tie or lip-tie. The procedure itself is relatively quick and is often performed with local anesthesia or a topical numbing agent. Some babies may cry during the procedure due to the sensation of having their mouth manipulated, but the pain associated with the frenectomy itself is usually minimal.

After the procedure, there may be some discomfort or mild pain, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers or by providing comfort measures like breastfeeding or offering a pacifier for comfort. The baby may also experience some mild swelling and irritation at the site of the procedure.

It is important to note that pain tolerance varies from person to person, so while some babies may be more sensitive and fussier after a frenectomy, others may not be bothered much at all. Parents should follow the post-operative care instructions provided by the healthcare provider to ensure proper healing and comfort for their baby.

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