Understanding The Basics Of Tongue And Lip Ties
First, we should discuss the basics of tongue and lip ties. Together, these are known as Tethered Oral Tissues, or TOTs for short. Let’s start with tongue ties, also called “ankyloglossia.”
A tongue tie happens when your child’s lingual frenulum is too thick or overdeveloped. The lingual frenulum is the band of tissue that connects the tongue to the base of the mouth. If you raise your tongue and look in a mirror, you’ll see this band of tissue in the middle of your tongue.
This band of tissue is essential for connecting the tongue to the base of the mouth, of course. But if it’s too thick, it can interfere with the movement of your child’s tongue. Commonly, this causes issues with breastfeeding and bottle feeding in infants, and can also lead to oral development issues and speech impediments.
Lip ties are similar. If you peel your upper lip upward or your lower lip downward, you’ll see a band of tissue in the middle of each lip, connecting your lips to your gums. Again, this frenulum is a necessary and normal part of oral anatomy. But in kids, it causes issues when it’s too thick, restricting the natural movement of the lips.
Lingual (Tongue) Frenectomies Help With Proper Jaw And Bite Development
So, how do frenectomies affect your child’s smile? Let’s start by discussing tongue ties. If your child has a tongue tie that’s not treated with a frenectomy, this can cause issues with their jaw and bite development.
As your child’s baby teeth begin to emerge and their jaw grows, their lack of tongue and oral mobility may change how their teeth fit together. This is because the position of the tongue has a major effect on how your child’s mouth develops over time.
The tongue places pressure on your child’s teeth and jaws when your child swallows, and if it’s not in the proper position, this can cause problems like an open bite, misaligned teeth, and much more. With a frenectomy, your child’s tongue can be freed up to move properly, which will help with proper oral development as they grow.
Labial (Lip) Frenectomies Prevent Diastema (Gaps Between Front Teeth)
Compared to tongue ties, lip ties do not have as much of an effect on your child’s smile as they grow. However, they can still change the alignment of their teeth. Specifically, tongue ties may cause “diastema,” which is the scientific term for a gap between the upper and the lower teeth.
This is because the labial frenulum is very thick and is located in between the upper teeth (upper lip) and lower teeth (lower lip). If your child doesn’t get a frenectomy, the frenulum may cause a large gap to form. This usually happens in the upper teeth, but can happen in the lower teeth, too.
Explaining The Frenectomy Procedure – What You Need To Know
Now that you know the basics of how a frenectomy will change your child’s smile, you may be wondering what to expect from their treatment at Kids Tooth Team. The frenectomy is very simple, and takes only a few minutes at our office.
After Dr. Alex confirms that your child is a good candidate for a labial or lingual frenectomy, you’ll schedule a follow-up appointment at our office. At this appointment, Dr. Alex will begin by cleaning your child’s mouth and sanitizing the treatment area. Then, she will use a special laser tool to snip their tongue tie or lip tie.
And that’s it! Since we use laser dental tools, there’s usually no need for stitches. You and your child will be sent home to rest and recover. However, Dr. Alex will provide you with some instructions to follow as your child heals. You’ll need to work with your little one to do some lip or tongue stretches. This “physical therapy” for their tongue and lips will ensure that their frenulum heals properly, and that the tongue or lip tie doesn’t come back.
We Make Frenectomies Easy For Kids With Laser Dentistry
Thanks to our investment in laser dental tools, Kids Tooth Team makes it easy for your little ones to get a frenectomy in South Austin. With laser dentistry, no stitches are needed after your child’s frenectomy, and they can recover from their procedure much more quickly compared to treatment done with traditional dental tools.
Laser dentistry is also completely painless, so your child usually won’t need sedation or even a numbing shot. There’s minimal bleeding, too, since the high heat of the dental laser cauterizes (seals) blood vessels on contact. All of this adds up to a simpler, faster, and less stressful procedure for both you and your little one!
Worried About Tongue And Lip Ties? Come To Kids Tooth Team Today!
Frenectomies can change your child’s smile, but this is always for the better! By eliminating tongue or lip ties, you can make sure that your child’s smile develops properly, and you can also eliminate feeding issues in infants and help prevent common speech impediments, too.
Not sure if your child needs a frenectomy? At Kids Tooth Team, we’re here to help. Dr. Alex and our team are experts in laser frenectomies in South Austin and Buda, TX. We can diagnose your child, determine if a frenectomy is necessary, and provide you with the care you need to keep your little one’s oral health and development on track. Give us a call at (512) 523-4774 or contact us online to get started today.