Laser Dentistry tongue-tie and lip-tie correction are starting to become a popular treatment method for infants who have restricted tongue movement. Nursing plays a vital role in the early oral development of infants. This is something Dr. Nam knows because as a mother herself and through her advanced pediatric training. About 10 percent of babies are born with a tie or lip tie, and sometimes babies are born with both. This condition affects the infant's nursing ability. Through laser dentistry, this treatment will be precise, quick, painless, and minimally invasive.
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Tongue tie: What is it?
This condition, also known as Ankyloglossia, is caused by an abnormally short frenum that is usually attached too close to the tip of the tongue and restricts its movement.
It can cause the following issues:
- Difficulty with nursing and eating
- Difficulty opening mouth
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Trouble with oral self-cleaning, which can lead to inflamed gums and the need for periodontal treatment
- Pain or clicking in jaw
- Protrusion of lower jaw
A frenectomy corrects the issue and allows a normal tongue range and motion. This will allow an infant to latch for breastfeeding and improve child speech development.
How is a Frenectomy performed?
A frenectomy, or a tie revision, removes the tissue or tight frenulum under the tongue or upper lip. In the past, the area would be anesthetized and the frenum was removed through an incision. Dissolvable stitches were then used to close the incision. The procedure itself is very quick, typically taking only a few minutes to treat, with a recovery time of two to four weeks.
With the use of laser dentistry, Dr. Nam will treat the lip or tongue tie through a minimally-invasive procedure that will take less than a minute. In most cases, only a numbing anesthetic is needed to alleviate the baby from the pain and discomfort during the treatment. With laser dentistry, the tongue and lip can be treated with little to no bleeding and minimal discomfort. Your infant will be able to breastfeed immediately after the tie is treated.
Lip tie: What does it mean?
This condition is caused by a short frenum attached to the upper gum that limits the range of motion of the upper lip. It can cause the following issues:
- Difficulty and pain with nursing and eating.
- Inability to flange the lip upward while breastfeeding.
- Inability to latch and create a good seal while breastfeeding.
- Difficulty with brushing and flossing, increasing the risk of dental decay.
- Dental spacing problems (Diastema)
When your baby has lip tie, the piece of muscleless tissue connecting the upper lip to the upper gums prevents the mouth's mobility because it is either too thick, too tight, or both, a tongue-tie is a condition wherein it has an unusually small or tight band of tissue tethers the bottom of tongue's tip to the bottom of the mouth. The excess tissue restricts the movement of the lip or the tongue to several degrees, causing moderate to severe effects.
A severe tongue or lip tie can interfere with the baby's breastfeeding, and it can also affect the way the child eats, speaks, and swallows. Restrictive Frenulums can affect the jaw and dental development, chewing, breathing, digestion, and swallowing. Tongue and/or lip ties are often associated with reflux, which can cause significant pain for the infant. When restricted mobility affects bottle-feeding, nursing, or it causes discomfort to the mother and the child, a laser frenectomy (removal of frenulum) may be recommended.
Even if in cases where the baby can breastfeed normally without causing the mother to feel any pain, the restricted frenulum can affect the dental and jaw development, difficulty or inability to swallow solid foods, cavities, spacing in the teeth, breathing and sleeping problems, posture, TMD, reflux, headaches, and many other issues.
Advantages of Laser Frenectomy
Laser tongue-tie and lip-tie surgery is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure. The benefits of laser treatment are:
- Shorter treatment time - This is done right in our office and usually takes less than a few minutes. This quick procedure is less traumatizing for your newborn, and much safer as there is no need for sedation or general anesthesia.
- Less painful - While it can still cause pain, it is less traumatic than using scissors as in the traditional treatment. Pain from laser surgery is more manageable as it is delayed, rather than immediate as with scissors. Only a topical.
- No bleeding - The laser burns the frenum that connects the tongue or lip to the other tissue, which is less painful and more accurate. There is little to no bleeding during or after the treatment.
- Shorter recovery time - The recovery period is less than traditional surgery because there is no need for general anesthesia and sedation. In most cases, only a topical numbing anesthetic is needed to safeguard your baby from any discomfort. Most babies are able to nurse right after the surgery.
- Minimal chance for reattachment - Laser tongue and lip tie surgery is more accurate in removing the membrane, making the chance for reattachment less likely, especially when combined with stretching exercises that are provided afterwards.
After a laser frenectomy, your baby should have little or no bleeding. There will be a small, diamond shaped wound in white or yellow color that will look similar to a moist scab a few days later. The area may be sore for one or two days but in most cases it will not interfere with nursing. You will be given post-surgical care instructions that will include exercises that will prevent reattachment and promote healing. A follow-up appointment is normally scheduled in about a week after the surgery, to make sure it is healing properly.
Other things to expect in a normal recovery during the first week:
- Fussiness and crying in the first week.
- Slight bleeding after stretching - a tiny bit of blood in the saliva is normal for most children.
- Trouble latching on, or inconsistent feedings - your baby is sore and re-learning to suck; this is normal and will improve. It can result in choking on milk or spitting up due to the increased milk flow.
- More drooling and saliva.
- Sleeping more, due to medication or even because your baby is eating better and more satisfied after
Call the doctor if any of these rare occurrences happen:
- Fever higher than 101.5 F
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Refusal to feed for more than 8 hours
Aftercare for Tongue tie frenectomy
These steps will both reduce the risk of reattachment and also improve tongue mobility:
- Regular breastfeeding - Nursing promotes healing and we encourage nursing or feeding soon after the procedure.
- Exercises - follow the instructions provided by your specialist. These will improve the tongue’s movement. The exercises should begin the evening after surgery. The next morning they should be done 3-4 times a day, or about ever 3 - 4 hours, for about five weeks. They will taper off after that time. It is extremely critical that stretching is done to prevent reattachment.
Aftercare for Lip tie frenectomy
- Stretching - The success of lip tie correction depends on proper stretching. It is important to perform quick and precise stretches, rather than a long, uncomfortable process.
- Sucking - In addition to stretching exercises, allow your baby to practice sucking on your finger. Nursing and feeding your baby will also help as you are nourishing your baby.
Laser frenectomy can range in cost between $250 and $800, with an average cost around $400 to $500. Depending on your insurance coverage, it may be approved. Our benefits coordinator has extensive experience with dealing with insurance providers and will help you review your benefits and provide necessary documentation to submit to your provider if necessary.
Tongue tie surgery cost
The cost for tongue tie correction will depend on factors such as where you live, the severity of the case, and the expertise of the specialist. The cost ranges between $250 and $1200 and you can expect to pay about $400 to $600 on average, of which some or all of it can be covered by insurance.
Lip tie surgery cost
The cost for lip tie correction ranges between $250 to $1200 and will depend on factors such as where you live, the severity of the case, and the expertise of the specialist. The average cost is usually between $400 to $600, of which some or all of it can be covered by insurance.
Frenectomy: Lakewood, CO - Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics
Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Nam Hardy, uses a state-of-the-art laser to remove the tissue safely and quickly and is certified by The Academy of Laser Dentistry to perform frenectomies. If you want to know more about laser dentistry for tongue and lip tie treatment, Call us our Lakewood office today.
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FAQ for Frenectomy
Is a Frenectomy painful for babies?
The frenulum is a thin membrane with very few nerves, thus the procedure causes very little pain. It requires no anesthesia and takes only seconds to perform. The procedure has been traditionally done with surgical scissors but now can be done with a dental laser. A laser frenectomy minimizes any blood loss and the risk of infection. Pediatric Dental Office
What is a good age to get a Frenectomy done?
A frenectomy can be done for children, and even adults, at any age. For an infant with a tongue tie, it can be done as early as just a couple of weeks to help problems with breastfeeding or bottlefeeding. Meet our Dr. Nam
How long does it take to recover from Frenectomy?
With laser frenectomy, the infant is typically able to feed immediately after, with improved latching. It is typical to experience mild discomfort and minimal swelling within the first 24 hours. There may be some minimal bleeding at the wound. For the next four weeks, stretching exercises should be performed to prevent reattachment. Our Office
How do you stop bleeding after Frenectomy?
With a laser frenectomy, the procedure is often bloodless as the laser also cauterizes the wound during the procedure. A small amount of spotting is typical afterwards but generally there is no bleeding.
Do Tongue Tied affect speech?
A tongue tie doesn’t cause a speech delay or prohibit speaking, but it can sometimes cause problems with pronunciation or articulation due to the limitation of the tongue’s movement..
How long does a lip tie take to heal?
Although most infants experience minor discomfort or fussiness after a laser lip tie correction and can usually nurse immediately, full healing can take a couple of weeks. Within 24 to 48 hours, a grayish-white patch will form in the incision area. It will heal and return to a normal appearance in about two weeks. Stretching exercises will need to be done during this time to prevent reattachment.
How long does a tongue tie cut take to heal?
Although most infants can usually nurse or feed immediately after a laser tongue tie correction, full healing can take an additional 2 to 4 weeks. Within 24 to 48 hours, a grayish-white patch will form in the incision area. It will heal and return to a normal appearance in about two weeks. Stretching exercises will need to be done during this time to prevent reattachment.
How common is it for tongue tie to reattach?
The mouth heals very quickly so it is critical to follow aftercare instructions, especially the exercises that have been provided. If done properly, it is not common for reattachment.
Is a Frenectomy covered by insurance?
Infant frenectomy can usually be covered as medically necessary to address ankyloglossia. As this condition can cause many problems for children it can be addressed by most dental and medical insurances.
Frenectomy Near Me
Picking a dentist convenient to where you live or work or go to school is essential when you are trying to save time and money. There will be a few treatment or follow up appointments in addition to routine visits later. Having your dental office nearby in Lakewood, CO will make things easier. Look for a specialist with excellent reviews for Frenectomy or tongue tie and lip tie correction and one you feel comfortable with.
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