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Tongue Tied: Does My Baby Need a Frenectomy?

Posted on March 27th, 2021

Houston dentist, Dr. Meghna Dassani at Dassani Dentistry, discusses different types of frenums, how they can cause problems for your baby’s mouth, and treatment with frenectomy.But first, what’s a frenum? Or is it frenulum? The short answer is, they’re one and the same—a small fold of muscular tissue that prevents an organ in the body from moving too far. There are several in the body, but the two we’ll be discussing today are located in the mouth—labial frenum and lingual frenum.

Labial Frenum

The labial frenum connects the inside of the upper lip to the gums between the two upper front teeth. Everyone has one, but sometimes it can be malformed—too short, too long, too rigid—and cause a host of problems for children. Sometimes the labial frenum can create a large gap between the two front teeth, and cause gum recession as the frenum pulls the gums away from the teeth. If the labial frenum is too tight, sometimes it can create an open-mouth position that inhibits the mouth from properly sealing, which can cause mouth breathing and improper development of the airway and jaw.

Lingual Frenum

The lingual frenum connects the lower floor of the mouth to the tongue. Most of us can move our tongues around freely for easy speaking and eating, but if the lingual frenum is too tight or too short, it can inhibit the movement of the tongue. This is a condition commonly known as “tongue-tie.”

Tongue-Tie

Hearing your baby babble their first words and learn to speak is one of the greatest joys of parenting. Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) can prevent babies and children from being able to breastfeed, eat, and speak properly. Tongue-tie can inhibit proper jaw development, cause long-term orthodontic problems, and sometimes lead to sleep apnea

When the tongue is unable to press against the upper palate during swallowing, it will begin to press against or between the front teeth instead which can affect the development of a proper bite. Tongue-tie is also one of the most common culprits of speech impediments including lisp.

Frenectomy

Whether our concern is the labial or lingual frenum, the procedure is generally the same. Frenectomy involves snipping or removing the frenum to allow for a greater range of motion of the lips or tongue. First, we will use a local anesthetic to numb the area and ensure your little one doesn’t feel a thing. Sometimes dental lasers can be used instead of or in combination with traditional dental tools as a minimally invasive alternative with less bleeding and faster healing.

Left untreated, problems with the frenum can cause a domino effect of consequences for the oral health, aesthetics, development, and function of your child’s smile. If you’ve noticed any of the signs and symptoms discussed above including painful breastfeeding or gapped front teeth, you may want to consider coming in to see Dr. Meghna Dassani for an exam. We can tell you if this tiny bit of tissue is the source of the problem and provide a solution that gives your little one the freedom to grow up happy and healthy.

Contact your Houston dentist at Dassani Dentistry today to schedule an appointment!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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About Meghna Dassani, DMD

Dr. Meghna Dassani received her initial dental training from the University of Mumbai, India, where she graduated in 1996 as Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS). After working as an associate for one year, she established her own practice in Mumbai, India. She successfully operated this practice for six years prior to moving to the US. When Dr. Meghna Dassani is not in the office she is at home being a mommy to her 2 beautiful girls and enjoying time relaxing with her husband. Since opening her own practice in 2011 she doesn’t have a lot of free time but when the time allows she enjoys traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, visiting with friends and family and of course SHOPPING with a Starbucks in her hand!

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