At What Age Does a Child Need a Frenectomy?

Finding out that your child needs a frenectomy may sound a bit scary. Is it going to hurt them? And, should you wait until a certain age to ensure the best results? 

This short article from Little Smiles of Eastvale will help you understand more about how frenectomies work. 

What Is a Frenectomy and Does My Child Need One? 

A frenectomy is a surgical procedure used to treat tongue ties (ankyloglossia) and lip ties. 

These are conditions that restrict the tongue or lip's range of motion. 

During a frenectomy procedure, the dentist will cut the frenulum to free the tongue or lip for better movement. This procedure can be done using a variety of tools, but at Little Smiles of Eastvale, we use an advanced laser for quick, pain-free procedures.

Signs Your Child Needs a Frenectomy 

Some certain signs and symptoms might indicate your child would benefit from a frenectomy:

  • Difficulties with breastfeeding are often the first sign of a tongue-tie or lip-tie. 
  • Difficulty moving food around in their mouth, chewing, or swallowing. This usually happens because their tongue and lip movements are constricted. 
  • Issues with certain sounds or words, particularly those that require the tongue to move freely. This also could be caused by a lip tie. 
  • Tongue ties can also lead to problems with oral hygiene, like difficulties with brushing or flossing, which can lead to an increased risk of cavities or gum disease. Also, if the upper lip is tied, it can cause a gap between the two front teeth.

At What Age Does a Child Need a Frenectomy?

There aren't any age limitations when it comes to frenectomies. If the tongue-tie or lip-tie is causing significant breastfeeding difficulties for a newborn or infant, a frenectomy may be performed within the first few weeks or months of life. In fact, tongue ties are often diagnosed and treated in the hospital shortly after birth if it interferes with the baby's ability to breastfeed.

If the tongue-tie or lip-tie isn't identified until later, or if it's not causing problems with feeding early on, the procedure may be performed later in childhood. For instance, if the child is having speech difficulties related to tongue-tie, a frenectomy might be performed at that time. The same goes for any noticeable dental hygiene issues or difficulties with eating solid food.

Will It Hurt? 

Frenectomies, particularly those done using a laser, aren't painful. The dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area before removing the tissue. Moreover, laser frenectomies have added benefits too, such as less bleeding, decreased risk of infection, and less discomfort because the laser can seal nerve endings while it cuts.

That said, your child may experience some mild to moderate discomfort or swelling after the frenectomy, but these symptoms can be managed easily with OTC pain medication. 

Does Your Child Need a Frenectomy? 

If you suspect that your child has a tongue or lip tie, Dr. Zala can examine them and tell you what you should do next. 

Get in touch with Little Smiles of Eastvale to book an appointment for your child. 

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