About 4% of children are born with some degree of frenulum restriction, also known as tongue-tie or lip-tie. This means that their tongue and/or lips are attached to the mouth with excessive webbing. This excess tissue impedes the movement of the tongue or lips to various degrees, and can cause anything from moderate inconveniences (such as not being able to enjoy an ice cream cone due to limited tongue mobility), to more severe impairments (such as inability to nurse during infancy, or significant speech impediments in adulthood). When this restricted mobility interferes with nursing, bottle feeding, or causes discomfort to mother or child, a laser frenectomy may be recommended for infants.
For children, adolescents and adults who do not undergo frenectomy in infancy, later complications may include: impaired oral hygiene, cavities, difficulty brushing and flossing, orthodontic maladjustments (teeth tilting to make room for the frenulum, which can be costly and painful to correct), as well as significant speech impediments, and issues of self-esteem. Upland Laser Dental Center is one of a few office that offers laser frenectomy. We have treated infants, children, and adults with excellent results.
Signs that laser frenectomy may be needed
If any of the following are present, laser frenectomy may be recommended:
May include failure to gain weight, excessive fussiness after feeding (may be indicative of lasting hunger), shallow latch-on, and loud clicking sounds during nursing.
May include severe pain with latch-on during breastfeeding, incomplete breast drainage, mastitis or nipple thrush, constant or chronic pain during nursing, infected nipples, plugged ducts, or nipple trauma (such as cracking, bleeding, bruising, creasing or flattened nipples).
May include discomfort or pain when extending tongue, difficulty maneuvering mouth (such as when eating lollipops), painful catching of the frenulum in between teeth or on eating utensils, speech impediment, difficulty brushing, flossing, or orthodontic complications."