Tongue Tie and Lip Tie (Frenectomy)
Tongue tie and lip tie laser surgery for the Frisco, McKinney, North Texas, and DFW metropolitan areas is provided by Dr. Paul Rubin and Dr. David Sentelle at Lonestar Kid’s Dentistry. Drs. Rubin and Sentelle are two of the few accredited laser dentistry surgeons that perform the advanced laser procedure tongue tie and/or lip tie release quickly, safely and effectively.
What is Tongue Tie and Lip Tie?
Tongue tie is the non-medical term for a common congenital condition that limits the use of the tongue, called ankyloglossia. A short, tight band of tissue (frenulum) tethers the tongue’s tip to the mouth floor. Ankyloglossia can affect how a child speaks and eats, as well as interfere with breastfeeding.
Lip tie is a similar congenital condition in which the tissue that tethers the upper lip to the upper gum is overly large or tight. Lip tie most often occurs in conjunction with tongue tie rather than on its own. Both conditions can cause ongoing health problems in infants and children due to the restriction of movement of the tongue or lip.
Potential problems from tongue tie and lip tie include:
- Difficulty with breastfeeding
- Early childhood caries (dental decay) and spacing problems
- Digestive issues
- Speech and airway interference
Tongue tie and lip tie laser surgery can correct these problems through a relatively simple procedure which Drs. Rubin and Sentelle can perform in office.
Laser Surgery for Tongue Tie and Lip Tie in Infants and Children
A frenectomy is a common surgical procedure during which the frenulum, the band of tissue involved in tongue tie and/or lip tie, is released, allowing for better range of motion. Utilizing a soft tissue laser, Drs. Rubin and Sentelle can alleviate problems caused by tongue tie and lip tie by performing a laser frenectomy.
Rather than cutting the restrictive tissue, which can be painful with more intensive aftercare, the laser essentially vaporizes the tissue, completely eliminating the problematic condition. The state-of-the-art soft tissue laser offered by Drs. Rubin and Sentelle cauterizes and sterilizes any tissue it comes in contact with. Laser tongue tie or lip tie surgery does not require a general anesthetic and can be performed in our comfortable, kid-friendly dental offices, while your child is awake.
Symptoms of Tongue Tie (Ankyloglossia)
Symptoms of ankyloglossia include difficulty sticking the tongue out past the lower front teeth or lifting it up to the upper teeth, however many people present no noticeable symptoms. In more obvious cases of tongue tie, the baby’s tongue will appear heart-shaped at the tip due to the tight tethering of the frenulum. Some cases of tongue tie are mild and do not require treatment while others can create various physical complications.
The two basic types of tongue tie are:
- Anterior tongue tie: Includes 3 classes of tongue tie in which the band of connective tissue is at or near the tip of the tongue and can be seen when the mouth is open and tongue raised
- Posterior tongue tie (class 4): Condition in which the band of connective tissue is unable to be seen due to being set back under the tongue (submucosal)
Other complications from tongue tie can include:
- Inability to widely open the mouth
- Pain or clicking in jaw
- Difficulty speaking clearly (particularly certain sounds such as “d”, “l”, “s”, “t”, and “th”)
- Dental health problems, such as inflamed gums (gingivitis)
- Lower jaw protrusion (inferior prognathism)
The cause of tongue tie is unknown however, certain genetic factors may play a role. If the condition does not resolve on its own, tongue tie surgery is typically recommended as treatment.
Lip Tie Laser Surgery
A laser maxillary labial frenectomy involves removing the maxillary labial frenum, tissue connecting the upper lip to the upper gums – often referred to as “lip tie”. A prominent maxillary labial frenum can cause a large gap to occur between the upper two front teeth. This may cause a large gap and gum recession by pulling the gums off the bone if it is not removed. Laser maxillary labial frenectomy aids in improving oral hygiene as if not removed in extreme cases, the lip tie can lead to periodontal problems.
Lonestar Kid’s Dentistry Lip Tie procedure “Before” photo taken 02/19/2020
Lonestar Kid’s Dentistry Lip Tie procedure “After” photo taken 08/16/2022
At Lonestar Kid’s Dentistry, we can perform an emergency newborn frenectomy or schedule more routine tongue tie and lip tie surgeries for infants, children and teens. Our specialized, state-of-the-art soft tissue laser removes the oral tissue with very minimal bleeding and discomfort, allowing for a quicker and less complicated healing process — making the procedure ideal for infants and young children.
If you would like more information about the benefits of tongue tie and lip tie laser surgery or would like to find out if your child is a candidate for a laser frenectomy, contact our office by Online Appointment Request.