When it comes to the health of their children, parents try to make educated decisions. But, when the course of treatment involves minor surgery, such as a frenectomy, most parents will want to make sure that the decision is correct and won't put their little ones through unnecessary stress.
What Is a Frenectomy?
A dental frenectomy, also known as frenotomy, is a minor surgical procedure that releases a tongue or a lip tie, a condition in which the frenum that links the lip to the gum, (or the tongue to the gum), is too short or too tight and interferes with speech, swallowing, or breastfeeding.
There are two types of frenectomies:
- Labial, where the frenum connects the gum tissue between the two front teeth and the upper lip.
- Lingual, where the frenum connects the side under the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
Does My Child Need a Frenectomy?
Frenectomies are usually detected in babies, as they experience problems with breastfeeding. This results in slow weight gain and more pain during breastfeeding, among other signs.
A visit to the pediatrician or a dentist will determine if the frenum needs any adjustment, and you will be referred to a professional that will perform the frenectomy. This procedure has minimal risks for the child.
How to Know When to Consult a Pediatric Dentist?
There are a few signs that can help understand if your child’s frenulum is too long or too short, such as:
They Have Trouble Breastfeeding
Children who are tongue-tied have trouble swallowing because the tongue can't move correctly. You may also experience pain during breastfeeding due to the same reason.
Your Child Sleeps with His Mouth Open
If a child always sleeps with their mouth open, it can also indicate they have a short frenulum to their lip, which prevents them from closing their mouth completely.
Their Teeth Are Larger
If a child’s teeth look quite large, it is because they have a gum recession that exposes the teeth more than usual. If the labial frenum is too short or tight, this influences the pressure applied to the gum tissue, causing it to recess. If left untreated, teeth are not properly protected, which can lead to tooth decay and gum infections.
Speaking with a lisp is one of the most common consequences for children who don’t have a frenum of the proper length. If your child starts speaking and you notice any impediments, it is time to visit a pediatric dentist. This affects your child's speaking process as the tongue is not able to roll correctly and influences the way the sounds are reproduced.
Benefits of Having a Frenectomy
Your child can benefit in many ways from having a frenectomy, such as:
- Reduced pain and discomfort
- Improved breastfeeding for both mother and child
- Improved appetite in infants
- Improved sleeping
- Improved speech and learning how to speak
We Can Help
If you think your child might need a frenectomy and are looking for an experienced, compassionate pediatric dentist in Ashland to perform this treatment, Timber Kids Dentistry is here for you.
Contact us today, and we will do everything we can to help your child smile.