September 16, 2022
At your playgroup with other parents, you hear several mention that they’re children have had frenectomies. It seems to be common these days! You learn that this procedure removes the excess tissue that connects the tongue to the mouth floor and the lips to the upper and lower jaws. But how can you tell if your child may need a frenectomy? When should you have them examined by a pediatric dentist? Keep reading to learn about three signs!
Early on, babies use their tongues to feed. To successfully extract milk from a mother’s nipple, the baby must raise the tongue underneath to create suction. However, a tongue tie doesn’t allow this kind of mobility and function. As a result, babies with tongue ties tend to struggle with breastfeeding, fail to gain weight, bite down on mom’s nipple (which causes quite a bit of discomfort for her), fuss or cry excessively, and have other unpleasant symptoms surrounding the nursing experience.
Basically, if you are having these kinds of problems when feeding your baby, a tongue tie could be to blame. If your child is older with a tongue tie, they may have trouble eating solid foods too, as the tongue is used to move food around in the mouth. They may gag or throw up, especially with certain textures. Regardless of how old your child is, a frenectomy can release the tongue and give them the function they’re supposed to have!
Some mouth breathing is unavoidable, such as when your child has a cold or runs at play. However, when a child routinely breathes through their mouth, it can lead to several unfortunate results. First, their mouth can dry out, allowing cavity-causing bacteria to thrive. Second, mouth breathing has a negative connotation in society, meaning the child could be mocked by their peers. Mouth breathing doesn’t automatically mean that a frenectomy is necessary, but it may warrant an exam from a pediatric dentist to check.
As an adult, you may not think about the role that your tongue and your lips play in forming sounds in speech. However, they are essential in verbal communication, and if your child is “tongue-tied,” they may not be able to speak clearly. Sounds like /r/, /l/, /t/, /d/, and more can become too difficult, leading to speech impediments. Not all speech impediments can be resolved with a frenectomy, but children who have a tongue or lip tie and struggle with speech certainly can benefit from this procedure.
In the end, a tongue or lip tie can complicate life for you and your child, but if you pay attention to the signs and work with a pediatric dentist, they don’t have to impede your little one’s development and oral function. If you notice one of these problems with your child, visit a specialist!
About the Practice
At Stroud Pediatric Dentistry, we specialize in caring for growing smiles. For frenectomies, we use a soft tissue laser to efficiently remove the thick, restrictive tissue. With this technology, the procedure involves much less discomfort and bleeding for infants and children with tongue ties. If you would like to meet with one of our pediatric dentists, Dr. Case Stroud or Dr. Michael Ball, contact us online or call 817-441-2425.
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