146 Infant Frenectomy

Infant Frenectomy
Your Dentist or Doctor has told you your child will need an infant frenectomy, what should you know? An infant frenectomy is usually performed early in the child’s life; sometimes within hours of birth.

What is a Frenulum?
Frenulum, or Frenum is the tissue material which connects the lip, tongue, or cheek to the mouth. You can see the tissue when you lift your tongue. In some individuals, a congenital defect is acquired which makes the frenulum “short” or placed in a way which limits movement around the tissue mass. This can limit the movement of the tongue or lips, which in turn limits the movement of the mouth.

What is a frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a precise surgical operation to incise or remove the frenulum at the root cause of the condition. A small piece of frenulum tissue will be sliced or altogether removed. The tissue surrounding the incision may be stitched, or a laser may be used which automatically seals the wound. Some care will be required to reduce lack of infection or irritation of the surgical area.

Why is Infant Frenectomy necessary for your child?
Frenectomies are essential to eliminate common complications of frenulum disorders.
* Ankyloglossia: “Tongue-tied” disorder, where the frenulum constricts movement of the tongue
* Lip-tied: Frenulum growth in the lips which restricts movement and can separate permanent teeth

What are the complications associated with Infant Frenulum Disorders?
Frenulum disorders can cause difficulty for your child in
* Feeding
* Nursing
* Eating
* Chewing
* Smiling
* Appearance

Incidents which inhibit your child’s ability to feed or nurse can have compounding impact on the development of your child. In the early stages of your child life, weight and growth are paramount. Frenectomies are normally performed as close to immediately after birth as possible, in order to give the child ample time to heal and catch up with their peers. The older your child gets, the more neglecting the infant frenectomy may become and issue. Lip-tied frenulums can alter the setting of permanent teeth, and make them less likely to smile. You want the best for your child, and helping them to smile will give them the best chance to enjoy life.

What is the Process for Infant Frenectomy?
Usually the procedure can be performed in house. Either the tongue or the lip area is isolated, and a surgeon or dental surgeon can snip the precise area of affect. The area under the tongue and between the lip are not associated with a lot of nerve endings, so you can take solace in knowing your child is not suffering. There will be blood, and treatment and care will be necessary, but nipping this problem in the bud early is better than later. Once the frenulum is disconnected or removed, the surgeon will review the procedure and decide if any other action must be taken. You should then consult with the health care professionals regarding what sort of hygiene or action is necessary to keep the area clean while it heals.