What is a lip-tie or tongue-tie?
In order to understand these conditions, let's start with the frenulum. A frenulum is a small piece of connective tissue that inhibits too much movement of an organ. Our mouths have a lingual frenulum – connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth – and a labial frenulum – attaches the midline of the upper and lower lips to the gums.
In some children (and adults!), their lingual frenulum is abnormally short or too closely attached to the tip of the tongue. This condition is called “tongue-tie” (ankyloglossia) and it restricts necessary tongue-movement. A “lip-tie” occurs when a person’s labial frenulum is too tightly attached to their gums.
What effects can these conditions cause?
In both cases, this restriction can cause difficulty with breast-feeding in babies, and other health problems like dental decay, speech difficulties, and airway problems. Here is a brief list of additional challenges:
- Inability to open mouth widely, affecting speech and eating habits
- Inability to speak clearly when talking fast/loud/soft
- Clicking or pain in jaws
- Dental health, a tendency to have inflamed gums
- Mouth Breathing and snoring
Can these conditions be corrected?
Fortunately, both lip-ties and tongue-ties can be easily corrected! A frenectomy is a common procedure that releases the frenulum (that small piece of tissue that connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth). In our Bernardsville office, Dr. Patti Swaintek-Lamb can perform a frenectomy on children and adults.
First, we will numb the frenulum with an analgesic gel. Second, Dr. Patti will use a LightScalpel CO2 laser that “vaporizes” the tissue with light energy. There is very little discomfort and no need for stitches. Finally, we use a cold laser to promote healing.
After a frenectomy, we recommend 7 days of tongue exercises. It's important for patients to perform these exercises to prevent re-attachment of the frenulum.
Who is a candidate for a laser frenectomy?
Generally, a good candidate for a laser frenectomy is anyone that has an over-achieving frenulum that inhibits proper movement of an organ.
If you would like to come in for a consult, we will check the size and depth of the frenulum to give us an idea of whether or not this procedure would benefit you. Just contact Aesthetic Dentistry of Bernardsville online or call (908) 221-1188 today. Dr. Patti Swaintek-Lamb and her skilled dental team can answer your questions. Aesthetic Dentistry of Bernardsville serves patients from Bernardsville, Morristown, Basking Ridge, Mendham, Chester, Far Hills and nearby areas in New Jersey.