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Infant Frenectomy Procedures

As your dedicated partners in oral wellness, we know that every aspect of your child’s development is precious. Unfortunately, certain issues can arise that impede proper growth and wellness. One common problem that can affect how your baby feeds and grows is a tongue tie or a lip tie.

If your baby has this issue, we can offer a simple procedure to improve their oral and overall health. 

Infant Frenectomy Procedures

Understanding Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

Tongue Tie: Imagine a thin piece of skin beneath the tongue that is shorter than usual, limiting the range of motion. That’s what happens in tongue tie. This condition can affect infants, children, and even adults. 

Lip Tie: On the other hand, a lip tie involves a short piece of skin that connects the upper lip to the upper gum. This can restrict the movement of the upper lip and impact various activities, particularly breastfeeding. 

Signs and Symptoms of Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

There are certain symptoms of a tongue tie or a lip tie that you can identify in your infant. Identifying this issue early allows us to quickly intervene. Furthermore, this can set the foundation for a positive oral health trajectory.

Breastfeeding Challenges: 

  • Difficulty latching onto the breast
  • Fussiness or frustration during feeds
  • Poor weight gain despite adequate feeding
  • Noisy suckling or clicking
  • Coughing or gagging

Physical Signs:

  • Lip blisters
  • Gas pain
  • Noisy breathing
  • Snoring sounds when sleeping
  • Reflux or colic 

Signs in Mom:

  • Decreased milk production
  • Prolonged feedings
  • Nipple pain and damage
  • Flattened nipples after breastfeeding

Understanding these signs can help empower parents and caregivers. With this knowledge, they can seek professional guidance for a comprehensive assessment. 

Diagnosing Tongue Tie and Lip Tie in Acton

How do you know if your little one has a tongue tie or lip tie? The most efficient method is to take your child for a thorough physical exam by a healthcare professional. Pediatricians, lactation consultants, dentists, or ENT specialists are skilled in assessing how the frenulum is supposed to look. Additionally, they can evaluate tongue and lip movement. We can provide functional assessments to help paint a more comprehensive picture of the situation. 

Treatment Options in Acton: Frenectomy to the Rescue

When a tongue tie or lip tie impacts daily activities, a common and effective solution is a frenectomy. This simple surgical procedure involves releasing the tight or short frenulum. this should allow for improved movement of the lip or tongue. Deciding on a frenectomy depends on the severity of the symptoms and how it affect’s your baby’s ability to function. 

At our office, Dr. Handa uses a LightScalpel CO2 laser. Tools like scissors are also common. However, this laser allows for minimal discomfort and bleeding during and after the procedure. This is because the laser helps promote faster healing for a better recovery. 

Post-frenectomy care is also essential for a smooth recovery. Parents and guardians play a crucial role in supporting their little ones during this phase. This involves following our recommendations. However, there are some natural remedies that can complement the healing process. 

Post-Op Care: Nurturing the Healing Journey

In the weeks following a frenectomy, parents can expect positive changes in their baby’s feeding and overall comfort. You will likely observe improved latch and feeding efficiency. As a result, this should contribute to weight gain and reduced feeding frustration. Babies should also exhibit tongue mobility. Furthermore, parents might even notice improvements in their baby’s sleep patterns. 

While healthcare providers offer specific post-operative care instructions, there are also natural remedies that guardians can consider to aid the healing process:

Breastfeeding Support:

  • Work with a lactation consultant to ensure a good latch
  • Frequent nursing sessions can stimulate milk production and aid in healing.

Breast Milk Ice Chips:

  • act as a natural numbing agent and help with pain
  • Freeze milk in a flat baggie and place tiny pieces under lips or tongue

Maintain Oral Hygiene:

  • Wipe the baby’s mouth gently with a clean, damp cloth or gauze

Pain Management:

  • Breastfeeding itself can provide comfort. Nursing before and after the procedure may be beneficial
  • Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and provide relief. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about infant frenectomy procedures, we have answers.  Read on to find the answers to some common questions about this procedure. 

How painful is a frenectomy for a baby?

A frenectomy can cause mild to moderate discomfort for babies, particularly within the first 24-72 hours post-procedure. Pain and fussiness often peak around days 4-5 but typically start to improve within a week. Discomfort is generally manageable with over-the-counter pain relief and soothing techniques. Most babies feel better as the healing progresses after the initial few days.

Do doctors numb babies for frenectomy?

Yes, doctors usually numb babies for a frenectomy. They typically use a local anesthetic or numbing cream to ensure the baby feels as little discomfort as possible during the procedure. This helps keep the baby comfortable and makes the procedure go smoothly. Afterward, babies usually recover quickly and are often more comfortable feeding and moving their tongues.

Can baby eat solids after frenectomy?

After a frenectomy, babies can start eating solids. However,  we advise you to begin with soft, cold foods such as applesauce and pureed fruits for the initial days. As healing advances, you can gradually introduce more textured foods. Most babies can return to their usual diet by the second-week post-procedure. It’s important to follow the dentist’s or doctor’s advice on feeding after the frenectomy.

For more questions or information, read Dr. Handa’s eBook on post-op recovery for infant frenectomy procedures. Dr. Ratti Handa eBook