Tethered Oral Tissue Diagnosis and Treatment Frenectomy/Frenotomy with Laser
Tongue tie, Lip tie, and Buccal Ties – We evaluate and treat tethered oral tissues for both infants, children and adults. Reasons for treatment include:
- Helping to alleviate breastfeeding challenges for both baby and mother
- Feeding challenges for children
- Speech delay, to allow for proper growth and development of the jaws, airway concerns, and sleep apnea.
What is a frenectomy or frenuloplasty?
A frenectomy or frenuloplasty is a procedure that consists of releasing the frenum under the tongue or upper lip to allow for better range of motion. Children may be born with a combination of conditions called a tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) and/or a lip-tie causing restrictions in movement that can cause difficulty with breastfeeding, and in some instances, other health problems like dental decay or spacing, speech and airway difficulties, and digestive issues. These issues can generally be corrected by a simple procedure done with our soft tissue laser. Dr. Bill is an Ambassador of The Breathe Institute and uses the Zaghi method and will place sutures when appropriate to promote healing by primary intention. We take a multidisciplinary team approach when performing functional frenuloplasty. We work with myofunctional therapists and sometimes craniosacral therapists before, during and after surgery.
Laser Frenectomy for Infants
A CO2 soft tissue laser does NOT cut, it is more a “vaporization” of tissue that occurs with light energy. There is very little discomfort with the laser. There is almost no bleeding from the laser procedure. Lasers sterilize at touch therefore have less risk of infection. The healing is very quick, a laser stimulates bio-regeneration and healing. The result is beautiful tissue with less chance of relapse.
A lip-tie occurs when the tissue connecting the upper lip to the upper gum restricts the mouth’s mobility, because it’s too thick, too tight, or both. Challenges that can occur in children and infants with moderate to severe lip-ties:
- Spacing between the maxillary central incisors, a large gap can form called a diastema
- Difficulties with brushing and flossing
- Increased risk of dental decay
- Repeated trauma to the maxillary frenum because it is so low and prominent
- Pain with breastfeeding
- Inability to adequately flange the maxillary lip upward during breastfeeding, affecting an infant’s latch and ability to create a good seal
Ankyloglossia, or tongue-tie, is the restriction of tongue movement as a result of fusion or adherence of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. A tongue-tie is therefore caused by a frenum that is abnormally short or attached too close to the tip of the tongue.
Normal tongue function is important for multiple reasons. Among the many benefits, normal tongue function will allow a baby to latch adequately and breastfeed efficiently, promote normal speech development, make it possible for a child to self-cleanse the mouth during eating, allow adequate swallowing patterns, allow for proper growth and development. Challenges that can occur with a tongue-tie:
- Inability to open mouth widely affects speech and eating habits
- Inability to speak clearly when talking fast/loud/soft
- Clicking jaws
- Pain in jaws
- Protrusion of the lower jaw, inferior prognathism