If your child has a lip tie or a tongue tie, they might need a frenectomy—a procedure that quickly gets rid of the excess tissue and frees up your child’s lip or tongue. At McKinney Pediatric Dentistry, we offer frenectomies with both traditional methods and laser therapy, an innovative way to complete the procedure even more gently than before.
What Is a Lip or Tongue Tie?
Tongue ties or lip ties occur when the frenulum, or the tissue that connects the lips and tongue to the mouth, is too large or too tight. It restricts the movement of the lips or tongue and can make it difficult to talk, eat, or smile.
If you put your tongue in front of your front teeth and push it upward so that it touches the top of the inside of your lips, you will feel a thin line of tissue. That’s the frenulum that connects your upper lip to your gums. Likewise, if you look in the mirror, open your mouth, and lift your tongue up, you’ll see the frenulum that connects your tongue to your mouth.
Tongue or lip ties are often caught during infancy because they often cause difficulty breastfeeding. However, they might be noticed at any time during childhood. Luckily, these issues are easy and quick to fix with a frenectomy.
What Is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy, sometimes also called a frenotomy, is a simple procedure that removes some of the excess tissue of the frenulum, giving the lips or tongue a wider range of motion. There are a few different techniques used to do this, including laser removal of the tissue. Because this tissue is fairly thin, a laser can easily remove it gently and quickly.
Why Is a Frenectomy Necessary?
While it may seem like a small issue, lip and tongue ties can cause significant problems. The inability to properly move the lips and tongue can cause problems even during infancy, making it difficult for the infant to latch for breastfeeding.
Lip or tongue ties can also cause:
- Cavities. Because they inhibit the ability to clean food off of teeth, lip and tongue ties are associated with higher rates of cavities and tooth decay.
- Problems with oral and tooth development. Lip and tongue ties can increase the risk of a high soft palate and tooth crowding.
- Teeth misalignment and other orthodontic issues. Lip ties in particular tend to cause a gap in the front teeth, leading to crowding in other teeth.
- Acid reflux and gastrointestinal issues. Because of the difficulties with eating caused by a lip or tongue tie, children can develop gastrointestinal issues.
- Speech impairments. Lip and tongue ties sometimes inhibit a child from forming the correct sounds, leading to speech impairments.
- Sleep issues. Lip and tongue ties can also cause snoring and interrupted sleep because of the excess tissue that inhibits the flow of air during sleep.
Symptoms of a Lip or Tongue Tie
Lip and tongue ties are sometimes recognized in infancy when the infant has trouble latching for breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Other signs that your infant may have a lip or tongue tie include:
- Colic or reflux symptoms
- Gumming the nipple or bottle when feeding
- Poor weight gain
- Excessive drooling
- Inability to hold a pacifier
As children get older, different signs become common. Some signs that your toddler or child may have a lip or tongue tie include:
- Difficulty lifting the tongue or sticking the tongue out
- A tongue that appears heart-shaped
- An inability to purse lips or stick them out very far
- Speech difficulties
- Difficulties with eating or swallowing
If your infant or child shows signs of a lip or tongue tie, McKinney Pediatric Dentistry can help you get to the bottom of the issue and provide top-notch frenectomy treatment.
Schedule your Appointment with McKinney Pediatric Dentistry Today
A lip or tongue tie can cause problems for your child, but McKinney Pediatric Dentistry is here to help. We can easily and gently fix the lip or tongue tie so that your child can get back to their normal life without hassle or pain. Schedule your appointment today!