November 4, 2022
Perhaps your baby is failing to latch and breastfeed properly. Maybe you’re tired of your nipples hurting while you nurse. In your online research, you’ve discovered that a possible underlying cause of your struggles could be a tongue tie, or an abnormally thick or tight piece of tissue called a frenulum beneath your baby’s tongue. You’ve also found there are two procedures that could be performed: a frenectomy or a frenotomy. What’s the difference between these treatments? Keep reading to learn more!
How Are Frenectomies and Frenotomies Different?
Although to the layperson, these procedures can appear to be very similar, there is one important difference between them. A frenectomy is a procedure that releases the tongue tie by removing the frenulum entirely, and a frenotomy is accomplished by merely severing the frenulum. In both cases, the tongue or lip tie is resolved, giving the patient new flexibility and function.
When a tongue or lip is restricted, oral function suffers. In babies, this means that they cannot achieve suction while nursing or eating from a bottle. As a result, they may not gain enough weight and fail to thrive. In older children and adults, a tight tongue can make certain sounds difficult or impossible, and it can force them to struggle eating certain textures of food. For all these reasons, it is important to address a tongue or lip tie through one of these procedures as early as possible.
What Role Does a Soft Tissue Laser Play in These Procedures?
In recent years, the use of a soft tissue laser has basically made these two procedures interchangeable, especially from the patient’s point of view. This technology both cuts and cauterizes the tissue, making removal and the recovery much easier.
In fact, when a soft tissue laser is utilized, most patients do not require any local anesthetic to numb the area or sutures to facilitate healing. As a result, the recovery process from these procedures is significantly shorter with fewer complications.
Which Procedure Is Right for You?
Your pediatric dentist or tongue tie specialist may discover that the tongue tie is extra thick or tight, necessitating one method over another. Regardless of the exact procedure your child is undergoing, the process always begins with a consultation. After examining the tongue tie, the dentist can then provide insight on how to correct the problem. During this appointment, you can also ask any questions you have about the procedure itself and after care.
With a clearer understanding of frenectomies and frenotomies, you can move forward with treatment with more certainty. When you work with a tongue tie specialist who takes advantage of modern technology like a soft tissue laser, you can rest assured that the procedure will be carried out as efficiently as possible.
About the Author
As a board-certified pediatric dentist, Dr. Maggie Davis has focused a large part of her career on correcting lip and tongue ties. She is also certified by the American Board of Laser Surgery for Infant and Pediatric Tongue Ties and Lip Ties. In addition, she has graduated from Dr. Richard Baxter’s Tongue Tie Academy and TOTS: Tethered Oral Tissue program. To schedule a consultation for your baby with Dr. Davis, contact the Florida Tongue Tie Institute at our Palm Harbor office either through our website or by calling 727-786-7551.
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