Frenotomy: When is it Necessary?

Frenotomy: When is it Necessary?

July 1, 2021

When you have a newborn or infant, a visit to the pediatric dentist near you is the last thing you would anticipate. However, these young ones are sometimes faced with some conditions that may require the intervention of a dentist at their tender age. Frenotomy in Redding is among the dental procedures that may be required early in life. To understand what it is all about, it is first necessary that you have a little understanding of the mouth’s anatomy.

Anatomy of the Mouth

Inside the mouth are two thin muscular attachments known as the frenum. These muscles can interfere with normal functioning of the mouth depending on how they grow. One of the muscles is called lingual frenum and is located under the tongue, helping connect the tongue to the bottom part of the mouth. The other is a connective webbing type of tissue that joins the lips to the gum on both the top and bottom front teeth. A frenotomy in Redding will usually be performed when one of these tissues interferes with tongue function or the correct placement of teeth.

What is a Frenotomy?

The term simply describes a medical procedure where the frenum is either removed or shortened. An abnormal lingual frenum interferes with the tongue’s full range of motion, making it difficult for a child to nurse or feed insufficiently. When it happens to be too short, very thick or attached very close to the tip of the tongue, the patient is diagnosed with a tongue-tie. Not everyone with a tongue-tie requires a frenotomy. There are those that have been lucky enough to live an optimal life without treatment but for others the situation is quite dire and a pediatric dentist in 96001 has to perform the treatment.

Signs and Symptoms That You Require a Frenotomy

Indications for a frenotomy are quite easy to identify. Your pediatric dentist in Redding should be able to point out any problems with the frenum through a physical exam. For infants and babies, the caregiver may ask questions such as how often the child feeds and their behavior during the feeds. During the exam, a tongue depressor is also used to determine the tongue’s range of motion.

You can also watch out for the following signs to help detect a tongue-tie early:

  • Difficulties in latching well during breastfeeding.
  • The child making chewing movements instead of sucking when breastfeeding or using the bottle. This is often accompanied by clicking noises.
  • Not gaining enough weight
  • Longer lasting feeds, often with breaks in between.
  • Fussiness during feeding sessions.
  • Child seems hungry all the time despite providing regular feeds.

Another way for you to detect problems with your child’s frenum is to pay attention to their tongue and see if they can easily move it from side to side. If the child is older, try asking them to touch the roof of the mouth with the tongue or to stick it out past their gums, if they cannot, you will need to visit a medical professional for additional evaluation.

How is Frenotomy Performed?

Once it has been determined that a frenotomy is necessary, the next step is to prepare and schedule for the surgery. It is a very simple procedure and usually takes between 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Unless the frenum is causing difficulties in feeding as in the case of infants or interfering with speech in toddlers, surgery is not always needed. Non-invasive approaches may first be pursued.

When surgery is needed, the area will first be numbed and then the frenum is carefully cut away from either the floor of the mouth or from the gumline. It can be cut away completely or only a section of it removed. This is then followed by a couple of stitches and the procedure is complete. if you are visiting a clinic with advanced technology, laser may be used in place of cutting and stitching. The recovery process from a frenotomy is often smooth and without any complications. Complete recovery takes about 2 weeks with proper aftercare. You only need to keep the area clean and take any prescribed drugs to ensure you heal well.