We all have connective tissue called a frenum in our upper lips and under our tongues. Typically, this tissue is thin and not noticeable. Occasionally, though, it is unusually thick, or connected too low on the upper gums or under the tongue, hindering mobility. We call this a “lip tie” or “tongue tie.”
New parents sometimes find their newborns are having a difficult time latching and feeding. Often, the problem is that they are suffering from a lip or tongue tie. This can be very frustrating for the baby and for mom! Fortunately, we have a solution.
Historically, lip and tongue ties have been corrected with frenectomies that involved numbing the area and then snipping that tissue to release it. Newer technology now allows us to complete a frenectomy with a laser, which is faster and has virtually no bleeding. Smiles of Austin is pleased to have invested in this latest, highly advanced technology to better serve our smallest patients—giving parents peace of mind, as well as relief from what can be a very frustrating situation.
Symptoms of lip and tongue tie include:
The team at Smiles is very adept at diagnosing lip and tongue ties. We work in partnership with your other healthcare professionals—your pediatrician or lactation consultant—to take the most conservative and holistic approach possible. We only complete a frenectomy of it is truly necessary.
If your infant needs a frenectomy, rest assured that this is a very quick and painless procedure. Typically, we are done in three minutes. First, the doctor or a team member will have you bring your baby into a treatment room. We use a Velcro swaddle and protective eyewear on the baby for added safety. The doctor will use topical anesthetic on the area where the frenectomy is going to be performed, to ensure comfort. Then, we use the laser to quickly and cleanly release the tied tissue and return your infant to you as quickly as possible. Immediately after the procedure, you are welcome to use our private suite to nurse or bottle feed and soothe your baby.
Once the procedure is complete, we will have you feed your baby to help with soothing. We will also review post-procedural care instructions, including a demonstration of exercises and stretches you can do at home to assist with proper healing. We also ask you to follow up with your lactation consultant or pediatrician within a few days if you are still having difficulties with feeding. Total healing time may take up to two weeks, depending on the severity of the tie.
Still have questions about frenectomies? Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions parents ask. Please also feel free to call our office to schedule a consultation.