Treatment for Tongue-Tie or Lip-Tie
Inside your mouth, there are bands of tissue that connect the lips to the gums and the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If these bands are too short or too thick, it can be difficult to eat or speak properly. A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that releases these bands and provides a full range of motion to the lips and tongue.
Dr. Ahn is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon who performs the frenectomy procedure in our state-of-the-art office in Aliso Viejo, CA. If you or your child have difficulty eating or speaking, a frenectomy may be necessary to improve oral health and function. Contact OC Oral Surgery to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ahn and to receive a custom care plan.
What Is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that involves releasing the bands of tissue in the mouth that prohibit proper movement of the lips or tongue. There is a frenum that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth (lingual frenum) and that connects the upper and lower lips to the gums (labial frenum). If this band of tissue is too short or too thick, the tongue and lips may not have a full range of motion, resulting in speech problems more commonly known as a tongue-tie or a lip-tie. A frenectomy corrects this issue, improving speaking and eating abilities.
When to Get a Frenectomy
A lingual frenectomy can be performed as early as the first few weeks after birth, while a labial frenectomy can be performed at any age after the permanent teeth have erupted. In many cases, the frenectomy procedure is performed on babies who have difficulty feeding, or if there are speech concerns. In an infant, the earliest sign of a problem due to a tongue-tie or lip-tie is painful and ineffective breastfeeding. A baby who is bottle-fed and has a tongue-tie can also experience difficulty feeding, although this is not as common.
If an improperly sized frenum is left untreated, it can affect speech and dental development as the child grows. It can also lead to a higher probability of the child needing braces or developing breathing issues. If the labial frenum connects closer to the front teeth, it can create spacing and hygiene issues. An untreated frenum may allow gum tissue to be pulled away from adjacent teeth, exposing their roots. This can cause tooth sensitivity, pain, infection, and other periodontal problems.
Adults can also undergo a frenectomy, especially when the condition has caused the tooth roots to become exposed and severe sensitivity or pain has started to occur. At OC Oral Surgery, Dr. Ahn can safely and comfortably perform a frenectomy on infants, teens, and adults.
The Frenectomy Procedure
During the first visit, Dr. Ahn will examine your or your child’s oral health. We may take 3D scans if necessary to get a closer look at the facial anatomy and detect any hidden oral health concerns. Prior to the frenectomy, we will discuss your anesthesia options to ensure your or your child’s comfort.
The procedure is quick and minimally invasive. After you or your child are comfortable, Dr. Ahn will use a laser to release the band of tissue. In infants, we do not use an anesthetic to allow for immediate feeding after the procedure. Numbing medication will be used for older patients.
After the procedure, the area will appear white and gray. Although its appearance may look worrisome, this is a normal part of healing. We will provide stretching exercises to older patients to aid in your recovery.
After an infant undergoes a frenectomy, be sure to gently massage the area with a clean finger before feeding for the next 1–2 weeks. It is also important to retrain the infant’s latching ability. You can do this by making sure the upper lip is flipped out during feeding.
The frenectomy procedure is one that involves little risk. If you notice anything unusual, such as prolonged bleeding or infection, or if you have any questions about your recent frenectomy, please call our office right away. We are always happy to help.
Frenectomy in Aliso Viejo, CA
A frenectomy is a safe and effective oral surgery procedure that can improve your or your child’s oral health and function. We proudly serve patients of all ages in Orange County and invite you to contact us if you or your child experience a tongue-tie or lip-tie. Dr. Ahn is a board-certified oral surgeon and will closely evaluate your oral health and create a custom care plan for your needs.
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OC Oral Surgery is committed to providing our patients with personalized oral surgery treatment and achieving exceptional clinical outcomes. Contact our office in Aliso Viejo, CA, to get started and to see how oral surgery can benefit your health and confidence.