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When Is a Laser Frenectomy Needed?
A laser frenectomy procedure releases the frenum and allows for more range of motion for the patient’s tongue. This procedure is often essential to ensure that the child can function properly and in a pain-free manner each day. It also can help children with their speech development and oral hygiene.
Laser frenectomy treatment: Here is what you should know
This review discusses the laser frenectomy procedure, a common treatment among pediatric dentists for children who are diagnosed with ankyloglossia (tongue-tie). Specifically, we discuss the basics of the procedure and highlight when a pediatric dentist may recommend a laser frenectomy procedure for tongue-tie treatment.
What is a laser frenectomy?
A laser frenectomy is an in-office dental procedure that removes a band of tissue under the patient’s tongue or upper lip, which is known as the frenum. This procedure’s purpose is to create more range of motion, particularly for children who are born with ankyloglossia and other lip-restricted conditions.
When is a laser frenectomy recommended?
Ankyloglossia is a relatively common condition among toddlers and young children that restricts the movement of the tongue due to a frenum that is attached too closely to the tip of the tongue.
In this case, a laser frenectomy releases the frenum and allows for more tongue movement. In many instances, this helps the child perform a range of mouth functions that are essential for their development. Notably, treatment for ankyloglossia may help children who are:
- Developing their speech
- Experiencing tooth decay
- Feeling oral pain
- Having difficulty brushing
- Developing spacing issues
What are the benefits of a laser frenectomy?
The benefits of a laser frenectomy depend on the specifics of the child’s situation. For instance, the purpose and benefit of a laser frenectomy in a toddler who is having a hard time latching while breastfeeding is different from a child who is having difficulty with speech development. Notably, the general benefits of a laser frenectomy include (but may not be limited to):
- Improve the success rate of breastfeeding
- Ensure that breastfeeding is more comfortable for the child and the parent
- Improve milk stimulation by helping toddlers and children latch better while breastfeeding
- Reduce the risk of oral health concerns like teeth spacing and dental cavities
- Help children with their speech development (and reduce the risk of developing speech impairments)
How effective is laser frenectomy treatment?
A laser frenectomy procedure does not involve any cutting. Instead, it uses light energy (lasers) to target and vaporize excess frenulum tissue. The process causes little to no discomfort for the child. Additionally, most children do not have much, if any, bleeding during the procedure. The laser can also sterilize the area, which reduces the risk of an infection. Also, the recovery time is much faster because there is less discomfort and bleeding with laser treatment.
Is a laser frenectomy treatment safe?
A laser frenectomy procedure is safe and effective for most patients. In fact, it is approved and often recommended for children as young as a few months old. Of course, as is the case with all dental procedures, there are minor risks and potential side effects. Specifically, minor temporary discomfort, bleeding, and swelling are the most notable side effects of a laser frenectomy procedure for a toddler or child.
What is the recovery process like after a laser frenectomy procedure?
There may be minor swelling and discomfort after the procedure. Any side effects that occur should go away within 24 to 48 hours. Parents can even begin breastfeeding soon after the procedure. In fact, it is encouraged to do so, as it can soothe the baby and may help with the healing and recovery process.
Most children do not require any medication to control the pain and swelling. However, over-the-counter pain relievers may be appropriate for children who are over the age of six months. The pediatric dentist should provide patients with a full list of aftercare instructions to help ensure a smooth and fast recovery.
Find out if a laser frenectomy is right for your child during a consultation
If your child shows signs of tongue tie and may benefit from a laser frenectomy procedure, contact our dental office today. We specialize in dental treatment for kids and can provide a professional recommendation on the best way for your child to address their dental-related concerns. So, why wait? Schedule a consultation today to get started.
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