A frenectomy is a corrective surgical procedure that is used to treat a tongue or lip tie in children. When a piece of connective tissue known as the frenulum is too short or tight when connected to the upper lip or tongue, it restricts movement in your child’s mouth which can cause many issues down the line, including speech and feeding difficulties.
This is why most parents opt to surgically correct these issues with a frenectomy which releases the frenulum to create more freedom of movement. Read on in this blog from Sasco Pediatric Dentistry to learn about the 5 big signs that your child needs a frenectomy.
When your child has a tongue tie, it can be very difficult for them to latch onto their mom’s breast during breastfeeding or to latch onto a bottle. Due to their reduced range of motion, difficulty latching or latching which is too intense may happen, which can cause issues with feeding during infancy for both mother and child.
It’s common for children with tongue ties to take a long time to breastfeed but still not feel full because they’re not getting enough milk. They may even suffer from weight loss and struggle to gain weight.
For mom, she may experience nipple pain, irritation, fatigue, frustration, and blockage issues from the milk not properly draining. Feeding problems can continue into adolescence and adulthood if the tongue tie isn’t treated because a tongue tie can interfere with your child’s ability to properly swallow.
The tongue should rest against the roof of the mouth when you swallow but children with tongue ties cannot do this, which causes strain when they swallow.
A tongue tie can cause mouth breathing by causing the tongue to sit lower in the mouth which causes them to develop a more narrow palate. A lip tie can cause mouth breathing because it prevents your child from closing their mouth all the way.
Mouth breathing significantly increases your child’s risk of developing sleep apnea later in life, which is a serious sleep breathing disorder that can increase their risk of health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and heart attack later in life. Mouth breathing also dries out the mouth, increasing the risk of cavities.
Reduced range of motion in the tongue can make it difficult to pronounce certain sounds due to restrictions in the tongue’s movement. This can lead to your child developing a lisp or some other form of speech impediment.
Lip ties can prevent the two front teeth from coming together, leaving a gap between them. This is because the frenulum that restricts movement in an upper lip tie extends into your child’s gum tissue.
Sometimes the gap closes over time without surgical intervention, but if not, then a frenectomy is recommended alongside braces. Big gaps between the teeth can cause your child to feel insecure and self-conscious about their smile.
Tongue and lip ties can cause gum recession because the tight frenulum is pulling on the gums, causing them to erode over time. This will cause sensitive gums and in severe cases, expose the tooth roots.
Gum recession increases your risk for gum disease, which is closely linked to a higher risk of stroke and heart disease. When gums continue to recede without treatment, your teeth will feel loose and eventually fall out.
If your child experiences any or all of these symptoms, they likely have a tongue or lip tie. Correcting a lip tie in infancy will greatly reduce your child’s risk for feeding, speech, and oral health problems.
While this procedure can also be performed on adults, it’s recommended that you do it sooner to reduce discomfort and trauma. Your child will be numbed before the procedure so that they don’t feel any pain. Contact us at Sasco Pediatric Dentistry in Fairfield to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michelle.
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