What to Expect Before, During & After a Frenectomy Procedure

Frenectomy procedure

Be prepared for your baby’s upcoming procedure.

If you are the parent of a baby with a lip-tie or tongue-tie, you’ve likely been told by their pediatric dentist or pediatrician that they need a frenectomy. 

A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that corrects a lip-tie or a tongue-tie. Correcting these ailments can help improve your baby’s tongue range of motion or minimize the gap between two teeth. And with modern dental technology, a frenectomy is a fast and simple treatment that will yield a host of benefits for both you and your little one.

How do I know if my child needs a frenectomy?

Pediatricians and pediatric dentists will recommend a frenectomy for babies born with tethered oral tissue, commonly referred to as a tongue-tie. The frenulum is both the tiny piece of oral tissue that connects your baby’s upper lip to their upper jaw and the small oral tissue that connects their tongue to their lower jaw. If the frenulum is too tight, their tongue range of motion is limited. So, a frenectomy enables a broader range of motion.

So, how do you know if your child needs a frenectomy or if they are tongue-tied? Keep an eye out for the following signs of trouble.

  1. Your baby is having a hard time maintaining a latch during breastfeeding.
  2. Your child predominantly breathes through their mouth rather than their nose.
  3. There is a gap between your baby’s two front teeth.
  4. Your baby is having a hard time swallowing breast milk or formula.
  5. Your baby’s gums are receding prematurely.
  6. Your toddler seems to have a speech impediment.

If your child needs a frenectomy but doesn’t receive proper treatment, it can lead to various problems. Typical problems include abnormal jaw development, snoring, sleep apnea, teeth grinding, TMJ disorder, behavior and attention issues, and more. And if you are a breastfeeding parent, you most likely want your tongue-tied baby to be able to nurse successfully. Breastfeeding significantly reduces your baby’s risks of developing various diseases and infections, experiencing stomach issues, and more.

What to Expect Before, During, and After Your Child’s Frenectomy Procedure

As with any medical procedure for kids, parents want to know what to expect. Read on for what parents should know about their child’s frenectomy.

Before the Frenectomy 

Since the frenectomy procedure is relatively straightforward, little preparation is required. Your child will likely not need to take any pain medication in advance. And, for dentists who use the diode laser to correct a tongue-tie, only a topical anesthetic will be required. 

To make it even better, parents don’t have to worry about a scary procedure for their baby. The diode laser doesn’t vibrate or make loud noises, and it does not come into contact with your child. The only contact with the laser is from the laser’s light.

During the Frenectomy 

Our dentists at Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Vancouver, Washington, use a diode laser for all tongue-tie and lip-tie surgeries. This diode laser dentistry procedure takes under ten minutes and offers various benefits over traditional frenectomies that are performed with scalpels, scissors, and other dental tools. 

An operating room isn’t needed, nor is sedation. The laser will cauterize your child’s frenulum, which will minimize bleeding and render sutures unnecessary. This means a more comfortable procedure and easier healing process for your child. It also means less anxiety for mom and dad.

After the Frenectomy 

Since the laser cauterizes the tissue it cuts, there will be little to no bleeding. This means your baby should be able to latch on immediately after the procedure. Some soreness and swelling are common, and your child’s doctor or pediatric dentist will likely recommend some over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol, to keep them comfortable. Parents should keep the area clean to enable proper healing. 

We often suggest placing a thin layer of breast milk in a plastic bag in the freezer, and then breaking off a piece to place on the wound to numb the area. And, we recommend giving your baby a lot of skin-to-skin contact to let them know they are safe and loved. This said, your child should expect to see a full recovery and improved feeding in just a few days or less. 

Contact your pediatric dentist if you think your child may need a frenectomy. 

If your baby’s frenulum is creating latch issues or you notice some of the other signs and symptoms listed above, it is time to request an appointment with their pediatric dentist or pediatrician. If you are in the Vancouver, Washington, area, we encourage you to contact the Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry team. Dr. Gagneja can examine your baby’s mouth to determine the source of their latch issues and whether or not a frenectomy can help.