As a parent, you naturally want the best for your child – their health, happiness, and overall well-being are your primary concerns. Among the different health issues that may affect your little one, tongue-tie is a condition that you may not be familiar with. This article seeks to shed some light on what tongue-tie is, its potential impact, and how it can be effectively addressed using a procedure known as laser frenectomy.
What is Tongue-Tie?
Tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, is a condition that is present at birth and restricts the tongue’s range of motion. It happens when the thin piece of tissue under the baby’s tongue (the lingual frenulum) is shorter, thicker, or tighter than usual. This can cause the tongue to be tethered to the floor of the mouth, limiting its mobility.
Signs and Symptoms
Tongue-tie can have several effects on your child, especially in their early stages of development. These include difficulties in breastfeeding due to a poor latch, sliding off the nipple while attempting to latch, colic symptoms, reflux symptoms, poor weight gain, and difficulty holding a pacifier in the mouth. As your child grows, it may affect their speech development and the ability to perform tasks like licking their lips or playing a wind instrument.
The Role of Laser Frenectomy
One of the most effective ways to treat tongue-tie is through a procedure known as a frenectomy. Traditionally, frenectomies were performed surgically with a scalpel or scissors. But, thanks to advancements in medical technology, we can now offer laser frenectomy.
At Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Kelly Jobe and her team specialize in performing laser frenectomies. We use state-of-the-art LightScalpel laser technology to ensure optimal precision, efficacy, and comfort during the procedure.
Advantages of Laser Frenectomy
The benefits of using a laser for this procedure over traditional surgical methods are numerous. The laser seals small blood vessels, which minimizes bleeding and often removes the need for sutures. It also seals lymphatics, leading to less post-operative swelling and discomfort compared to traditional surgery. Moreover, the sanitizing effect of the laser reduces the risk of infection and promotes faster healing.
Further, laser frenectomy can reduce the surgery time, as minimized bleeding improves visibility and speeds up the procedure. The laser’s gentle touch means less trauma, leading to a faster recovery. In most cases, your child can return to their regular routine the same day. Lastly, CO2 laser-irradiated areas heal with less wound contraction and scarring, ensuring better cosmetic results.
What to Expect During a Laser Frenectomy
Here at Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we ensure that your child’s comfort and safety are our top priorities. The procedure is swift, simple, and stress-free. The procedure takes less than a minute per frenum. Depending on your child’s age, we may begin by applying a specially formulated topical anesthetic to minimize discomfort. Our precise LightScalpel laser then releases and seals the tissues, causing very little to no bleeding at all.
Dr. Kelly Jobe and the team at Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry are committed to providing the best pediatric dental care in the greater St. Louis, MO area! If you have any questions about tongue-tie or laser frenectomy, we are here to help!