Infant, Child, and Adolescent Frenectomies
In patients whose tethered oral tissues, or frena, contribute to feeding or speech issues, our skilled doctors may recommend a frenectomy with the use of our Solea laser. This carbon dioxide laser typically does not require any local anesthetic or “numbing” injection to safely release the tissues restricting tongue and/or lip movement and function. Frena (also referred to as frenula, tongue ties, or lip ties) are the strings of soft tissue attaching the lip to the gums and tongue to the floor of the mouth.
Camp Smile Pediatric Dentistry believes in a team approach, and our providers work with lactation consultants, speech and occupational therapists, primary care team members, and other healthcare providers to facilitate positive outcomes for our patients. After completing a thorough evaluation to assess for impaired tongue and/or lip movement and function and symptoms associated with poor breastfeeding and/or speech, we will discuss treatment options for your child. Procedures may include tongue tie treatment. The Solea laser enables us to complete release of the frena quickly and safely so that more invasive treatment under general anesthesia may be avoided.
In addition to the release of tongue and lip ties for speech and feeding issues, a frenectomy may be indicated if the insertion of the labial frenum (the tissue or “string” connecting the lip to the gums around the top teeth) contributes to an increased gap between the two front top teeth. In some situations, orthodontics (braces) alone may not be sufficient to maintain closure.
Does Tongue Tie Surgery Affect Speech?
According to leaders in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), there is lack of scientific evidence that tongue tie leads to speech delays. In a scientific study conducted by McEnergy and Gaines (1941) evaluating 1000 children with articulation delays, scientific studies evaluating children with articulation delays, it was determined only 4 of these children had a tongue-tie. In all 4 cases, the children with a tongue tie corrected their speech errors following speech therapy.
A speech assessment with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) is appropriate prior to any tongue-tie surgery that may be completed for reasons of speech delay. An SLP will evaluate whether or not the tongue tie is impacting speech sounds and validate whether or not a procedure is warranted.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Frenectomy?
The surgical site post-frenectomy tends to heal rapidly. To prevent reattachment of the released frenum, it is important to perform post-operative stretches to initiate tissue growth into the surgical wound so the frenum forms differently. These stretches should be performed for a period of 4 weeks. During this time, families will benefit from working closely with allied health professionals (i.e. lactation consultants, pediatricians, occupational therapists, or speech-language consultant) to help children relearn activities that were restricted by his or her strong frenum attachment.
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