One of the reasons that children fear the dentist is the sight, sound, or feeling of dental instruments. This fear can cause children to dread oral surgery, simple cleanups, or dental visits altogether. At Park View Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics we believe in making your child’s dental experience as fear-free and as pain-free as possible, offering the latest technologies in dental care to help minimize pain sometimes felt during traditional dental procedures.
For certain dental procedures that may be painful or require surgical incisions, laser dentistry, which utilizes light energy to destroy or mold tissues and teeth, may be used as a treatment alternative, providing a quick, safe, and effective way to help with breast feeding difficulty in infants as well as speech issues in children.
Learn more about laser dentistry for tongue-tie and lip-tie below, or schedule an appointment online.
What is tongue-tie and lip-tie?
Within the human mouth, there are folds of connective tissue known as frenulum, which limit the mobility of certain organs, such as the lip or tongue. A tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia, occurs when the frenulum that connects the underside of your tongue to the floor of your mouth is too short or too close to the tip of the tongue. In severe cases, the tongue may not be able to extend farther than the lower teeth. A lip-tie occurs when the frenulum that connects the inside of the upper lip to the upper gum is thicker than normal.
What are the symptoms of tongue-tie and lip-tie?
Tongue-tie and lip-tie are congenital, meaning they are present at birth. However, since most doctors do not check for these conditions at birth, and since tongue-tie and lip-tie are located on the inside of the mouth, the conditions may initially go unseen and undiagnosed. While you may not always be able to spot a tongue-tie or lip-tie in your infant, there are signs and symptoms — which primarily occur during breastfeeding — that may indicate the presence of an oral frenulum abnormality. A newborn baby with tongue-tie or lip-tie may display the following symptoms:
- Inability to fully open their mouth during breastfeeding
- Clicking sound of the jaw during breastfeeding
- Fussiness during breastfeeding
- Chewing or biting during breastfeeding
- Difficulty latching on during breastfeeding
- Choking on milk during breastfeeding
- Unusual tooth decay
- Excessive drooling
- Gas or reflux
In later years, such as toddler, teen, or adult years, a tongue-tie or a lip-tie may display the following symptoms:
- Protrusion of the lower jaw or other jaw-related deformities
- Gap formation between the two front teeth
- Difficulty eating certain foods
- Poor dental health e.g., inflamed gums
- Impaired speech
How is laser dentistry used to treat tongue-tie and lip-tie?
Laser treatment for tongue-tie and lip-tie is referred to as a frenectomy. A lingual frenectomy is used to treat tongue-tie, and a labial frenectomy is use to treat lip-tie. Both revision procedures involve the use of laser therapy to free or “cut” the frenulum from beneath the tongue or lip. With a laser frenectomy, there are no incisions involved, pain is limited, and the procedure only takes a few minutes to complete.
What are the benefits of a laser frenectomy for treating tongue-tie and lip-tie?
If your child has a tongue-tie or a lip-tie that is impacting their ability to be breastfed, their speech development, oral structures, or oral hygiene, a laser frenectomy may be beneficial to both child and mother. Benefits of laser frenectomy in the treatment of tongue-tie and lip-tie include:
- Helping your newborn to latch appropriately during breastfeeding
- Helping your child achieve normal functionality of their tongue or lip
- Helping your child to maintain good oral hygiene
- Relieving pain during breastfeeding
- Prevention of certain future speech impediments
- Prevention of certain future oral malformations
- Less pain and trauma versus a traditional frenectomy
- No incisions at the site of surgery
Schedule Your Consultation Today!
To get more information about laser dentistry for children at Park View Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, call our office at 212.879.6518 today or request a consultation by filling out the form on this page.