Frenectomies

When you get the best dental care and treatment in New Jersey or New York for your babies and young children, they grow up with a healthy attitude toward their dentist and fewer oral health problems. A frenectomy, for example, is a simple procedure used to correct a tongue-tie or lip-tie in babies. It takes just a few minutes, but makes a world of difference. You and your children can find this experienced level of dental care at Tiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry — in Woodbridge, NJ, Harlem, NY or the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Call them today for your baby’s first visit and find out if a frenectomy is necessary.

What Is a Frenectomy?

Above the front teeth, there’s a thin band of connective tissue that connects the gums to the upper teeth. Under the tongue, there’s a similar thin band of tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. This connective tissue membrane is called a frenum or frenulum. A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that trims or removes this tissue if it’s interfering with oral functioning.

The experts at Tiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry are committed to providing top-notch dental care for children in Woodbridge, New Jersey and New York City. Their services include preventative dentistry and the treatment of such common problems as:

When Is a Frenectomy Recommended?

There are several reasons why your pediatric dentist may recommend a frenectomy. If a frenulum is too tight or too short, it can affect your child’s speech. It’s a problem that may be discovered right away in babies. When it is, you may opt to have it corrected as soon as possible because it can affect feeding and swallowing. Other reasons for a frenectomy include:

A tongue-tie

A tongue-tie. In this condition, the frenulum is unusually short and restricts the tongue’s range of motion. This condition is present at birth and may affect the way a child breast feeds. In older children, it can affect the way an individual speaks or eats.

A lip

A lip. If the frenulum is too thick or too short, it can prevent a child from moving or curling the upper lip, which can interfere with breast feeding.

Receding gums

Receding gums. When the gums recede, the risk of tooth decay or even loosening teeth increases. Gums that pull away from the teeth can also lead to spacing issues that eventually need to be corrected with orthodontic care.

Diastema

Diastema. The frenulum may create a gap between the teeth that some parents wish to have corrected for cosmetic reasons. Without removing the frenulum, an orthodontist may not be able to close the gap between the teeth. Extra space between teeth also makes it easier for food to get stuck between teeth, which can lead to gum disease.

Many frenectomies are done early in life to help babies overcome difficulty feeding. Then again, changes and growth in the mouth and jaw as time passes may cause your dentist to recommend a frenectomy later in childhood.

What Are the Different Types of Frenectomy Procedures?

The type of procedure recommended by your experienced pediatric dental team depends on the location of the frenulum that needs to be corrected. The two main types of frenectomies are:

  1. Lingual frenectomy. This procedure is done to correct a tongue-tie. It involves removing the tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
  2. Labial or maxillary frenectomy. This procedure is done to correct a lip-tie. It usually involves removing the tissue that connects the upper gum to the upper lip but is sometimes done to correct problems with the lower lip.

Frenectomies in older children are usually done using a scalpel, surgical scissors or laser technology. Stitches may be needed to close the incision. Your NY or NJ oral surgeon may offer sedation dentistry, but it’s rarely required.

What Should I Expect During a Frenectomy Procedure?

Above the front teeth, there’s a thin band of connective tissue that connects the gums to the upper teeth. Under the tongue, there’s a similar thin band of tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. This connective tissue membrane is called a frenum or frenulum. A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that trims or removes this tissue if it’s interfering with oral functioning.

  • Infants. A frenectomy may be performed within a few weeks after birth. A numbing gel is used, and the frenulum is cut in one snip using sterile scissors.
  • Older children. When the frenulum is completely removed in older children, the procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes.

Frenectomies in older children are usually done using a scalpel, surgical scissors or laser technology. Stitches may be needed to close the incision. Your NJ or NYC oral surgeon may offer sedation dentistry, <Link to Sedation Dentistry> but it’s rarely required.

How Long Is Recovery After a Frenectomy?

Your NJ pediatric dentist provides clear instructions on post-surgical care after a frenectomy. In infants, there’s typically no bleeding. Babies can go back to feeding right away, and no additional care is needed. In children, the anesthesia needs to wear off before resuming eating. The dentist may recommend soft foods for three to five days.

A frenectomy is a simple procedure to correct issues that may lead to future oral health problems. This procedure can also help enhance the appearance of your child’s smile. Whether your child needs routine care such as dental cleanings or restorative treatments such as BPA-free fillingscontact Tiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry — in Woodbridge, NJ, in Harlem, NY or on the Lower East Side of Manhattan — to schedule an appointment.

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