Treating Tongue-Tie

Some children are born with a condition called tongue-tie. Their tongue is connected so closely to the floor of the mouth that it cannot move about freely. A dentist can treat the condition using a procedure called a frenectomy.

In some cases, tongue-tie corrects itself. The frenulum, which is a small piece of tissue that connects the tongue to the oral cavity floor, can become thinner as a child grows older. Nevertheless, some children require a frenectomy to correct tongue-tie.

Here is a bit of information about the treatment of tongue-tie and what you can expect.

How Do You Know That a Child Has Tongue-Tie?

There are multiple symptoms of tongue-tie. Here are a few of them:

  • The child can't stick their tongue out.
  • The child's tongue can't reach the roof of their mouth.
  • The tongue has a notch in the tip that is shaped like the letter V.
  • The child cannot move their tongue around freely.

If symptoms indicate that a child is suffering from tongue-tie, the dentist may schedule a frenectomy. The procedure can be performed as soon as the condition is discovered. A child may undergo a frenectomy on the day that they are born.

What to Expect During the Frenectomy

During the frenectomy, the dentist explains the procedure in full to you and your little one. The discussion can help parents and older children feel more comfortable about the procedure.

The treatment is quick and simple. The dentist may apply a bit of numbing medication to the frenulum. Thus, the child generally experiences little to no discomfort during a frenectomy.

The doctor then gently uses a laser, a scalpel, or a pair of surgical scissors to snip the frenulum and free the tongue.

What to Expect After the Frenectomy

Once the frenectomy is complete, your child can immediately nurse or eat. Any discomfort that a little one may experience following the procedure can often be treated with a bit of over-the-counter pain-relieving medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Also, keep in mind that as your child nurses, the act of breastfeeding helps provide comfort and some amount of pain relief.

If there is any bleeding around the frenulum, a bit of direct pressure can help it to stop. Additionally, you may notice that the tissue near the site of the frenectomy may appear whitish or yellow in color. This coloration is an indication that the wound is healing.

To learn more about frenectomies, schedule a consultation with a pediatric dental specialist in your local area.