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FAQ’s on Infant Laser Tongue Tie Release (Frenectomy) Written By: Dr. Ankita Shah, Dec 2019

Laser Frenectomy

A lot of mothers feel anxious when they hear their baby would need a tongue tie release. As a mother it's your natural instinct to be protective of your newborn.

However let us understand what a frenectomy/ frenotomy/ functional frenuloplasty is?

A lingual frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure to release/ loosen a tight frenulum, a small fold of tissue that prevents the tongue from moving in its full range of motion. It is a quick, safe, non-invasive and relatively a painless procedure.

Why is the release necessary?

Upon diagnosing the existence of a tongue tie, having a lingual frenectomy performed can yield fantastic results. The earlier it is released the better for the child as it helps in improved latching and suction and the healing is fast.

That doesn't mean you cannot release it later for your child.

Better late than never!

Make sure to check how trained and experienced is your provider?

Mums are apprehensive and confused when they have to choose a provider to perform the release. Be sure to find a dentist/provider who understands the effect a tongue or lip tie can have on breastfeeding, jaw growth, speech, eating habits, sleeping patterns and even nasal breathing. They will often provide a more complete and functional frenectomy and be able to more appropriately diagnose the issue.

Here are some answers to the common questions you may have regarding the procedure and provider.

1) Which is better - laser or scissors?

BOTH instruments have proven to be successful in long-term treatment. What is important is that your provider must be skilled and trained.

In our opinion a laser yields a more precise and complete result than scissors when treating an infant. Laser treatment limits the amount of bleeding as it cauterizes the tissues within your child’s mouth, minimizing risk of infection. We use proper laser settings and protective eye wear is worn by the team.

2) Is general anaesthesia needed?

We do not use general anaesthesia for infants as it's not necessary. Instead we use application of a topical local anaesthetic gel prior to the procedure for infants. For kids we most commonly perform the procedure under local anaesthesia on the dental chair itself. If at all the child is in the pre co-operative age, we might opt for general anesthesia if required as the last resort.

3) Is it painful?

This is probably the most concerning question parents have. After the application of the numbing gel in infants or local anaesthesia, we ensure there is zero to minimal discomfort to the child during the procedure.The anesthetic lasts for approximately 30 minutes to an hour. The procedure lasts for just a few minutes.

4) What are the post-op requirements to be followed?

The post-op stretching and care routine is just as important as the pre-op routine. We cannot stress more on how important it is for you to perform the daily stretching exercises in order for the release to be a functional success and prevent any kind of re-attachment. The exercises and massages help to hasten the wound healing. We are trained for active wound management and teach mothers techniques on how to manage the healing process for their infant.

A detailed sheet with explanation is given to parents so that they are aware of what to expect, what exercises to follow, how the healing process is going to be like.

5) Are you going to be around us through this process?

We believe that just doing the procedure is not our only job but to be there for you at every step is. Right from the diagnosis , to the pre treatment routine , the procedure and post op routine till the wound hasn't healed.

We strongly believe in a multidisciplinary approach and continued lactation support, craniosacral therapy if required before or after the frenectomy procedure. We also send a detailed report of the assessment and/or procedure to the bodyworker and lactation consultant and stay up to date with the baby's progress.

We completely understand a mother’s hesitation when it comes to the release process but one needs to be assured that these techniques used by the provider are proven to yield you the best results in improved breastfeeding and tongue mobility.

We have witnessed that the benefits of the release outweigh the minor discomfort of the procedure and healing process.

We would be happy to examine your baby to determine if a frenectomy is recommended or guide you to through the right provider.

DOES IT HURT?

I apply an effective topical anesthetic gel on the frenulum prior to treatment, allowing for zero to minimal discomfort during the procedure. The anesthetic lasts for approximately 30 minutes.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE PROCEDURE?

Breastfeeding is encouraged immediately following the procedure, however typically there is a healing period that your infant must undergo before the full benefits are realized. I teach each mother proper active wound management and daily stretching exercises in order to facilitate healing. I cannot stress enough the importance of interdisciplinary approach and continued lactation support following the frenectomy procedure. Post-treatment follow up is just as important as pre-treatment care. I send a detailed report of my assessment and/or procedure to the bodyworker and lactation consultant and stay up to date with the baby's progress.

Don’t hesitate to take action in order to improve your baby’s breastfeeding! Schedule a consultation with us and I'd be happy to examine your baby to determine if a laser frenectomy is recommended. I will also review with you in more details about what to expect during and after the procedure.

Keywords : tongue tie, posterior tongue tie, lingual frenulum, tongue tied baby, tongue tie surgery, tongue tie release, tongue tie speech, lip tie, breastfeeding, laser frenectomy, reattachment of tongue tie