Frenectomy / Tongue tie
Rockwall & Paris, Texas
In the center and underside of your tongue and on the inside center of your lips, you will find a frena, which is a small fold of tissue that is responsible for connecting two parts of your mouth and limiting motion to one of those connected parts. Problems can develop when either of these frena are too large. If an enlarged frenum is determined to be too strong, to the point where it will pull on the tissues too heavily and limits the motion to the connected parts, a range of issues can develop, such as difficulty speaking, gum recession on the nearby teeth, and issues with properly chewing food, which can negatively impact your digestion and increase your risk of gum disease. A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that corrects these issues by reducing the size of the frenum. This procedure can be performed on patients of any age, but is more commonly performed on children, especially infants.
At Northeast Texas Periodontal Specialists, we are committed to providing your child with attentive, delicate care to make sure they receive the treatment they need and are as comfortable as possible. During your child’s initial examination, we welcome you to be in the room as we perform our evaluation. If your child needs a frenectomy, we will explain everything involved in a gentle and reassuring manner. We will also answer any questions you or your child may have during this time. We offer the option of sedation for these types of cases as well if your child would benefit from it. We are happy to talk with you more about this option.
Common Signs of ankyloglossia
When the frenulum is too tight, thick, or short, tongue-tie (also known as ankyloglossia) there are several different issues that may occur as a result of the tongue’s range of motion being restricted. Among newborns, the most significant issue is difficulty nursing. If your newborn is not able to keep their tongue over their lower gum, they will be unable to properly suckle at the nipple, and will instead chew, which can be very uncomfortable to the mother, to the point where nursing may be avoided entirely, which results in your child not receiving proper nutrition. Fortunately, the frenulum has very few nerve endings or blood vessels, which means a frenectomy can be performed and cause very little discomfort. Following a frenectomy, most newborns ability to nurse will be restored right away.
If the frenum is not corrected early on, additional issues can develop later in life, such as poor hygiene due to the tighter frenulum inhibiting your ability to brush properly, which in turn can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis. Difficulty with speech is also common among individuals with tongue tie. In particular, the following letters and sounds can be difficult to enunciate for an individual with tongue-tie: “a,” “d,” “z,” “t,” “i,” “r,” and “th”. A strong or tight frenum can also inhibit activities like kissing, licking one’s lips, or playing a wind instrument.
Post Operative Care
For Older Patients
A follow up post-surgery check will likely be recommended following a frenectomy performed on most patients. During the time between these appointments, it is important to follow good aftercare instructions to avoid complications and have a fast recovery.
- Apply a dampened gauze with good pressure for 20-30 minutes. If bleeding persists, replace with a new dampened gauze and repeat every hour as needed until bleeding stops.
- You can eat after the bleeding has stopped, but avoid citrus foods and foods that are sharp, spicy, or too cold or hot.
- Pain-relief medication can help alleviate discomfort
- Intermittent ice pack therapy can reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort
- Take antibiotics as prescribed
- Do not smoke, suck through a straw or spit for 48 hours
- Stay hydrated, but avoid liquids with caffeine
- Saltwater rinse or use of the recommended rinse or gel three or four times daily following your procedure until the surgical area has completely healed
- If dissolvable sutures are used, do not irritate the surgical site by picking or prodding at them. Dissolvable sutures typically take 3-4 weeks to dissolve.
The cost of the frenectomy procedure will largely depend on whether it can be performed in one visit (which is usually the case) and whether dental sedation is necessary. It is also important to factor in the cost of the initial visit and any follow up appointments that may be necessary.
For patients who are covered under a dental insurance plan, although we are not in-network, we will gladly help prepare and file your claim to ensure you receive your maximum reimbursement. Payment is due in full on the day of treatment. We accept cash, check, Visa, Discover, Mastercard, and American Express. If you are concerned about the cost of receiving treatment, please know that we offer our patients Compassionate Finance, which offers a variety of payment solutions with fixed interest rates and manageable monthly payments and CareCredit®, which offers 24-monty payment plans with zero interest, as well as low-interest financing for 24-60 months.