Has a doctor, nurse practitioner, or lactation consultant told you your child has a lip tie or tongue tie?
If so, your child may benefit from a frenectomy. Dr. Conrad Parks specializes in this type of procedure, helping newborns and small children regain full use of their tongue and lips.
What is the frenum?
The frenum is a piece of connective tissue that is stretchy and connects one part of the body with another. In the mouth, there are two areas where frenum can be tight and restrictive, making it difficult for a child to nurse, eat or speak.
- The labial frenum is the connective tissue between the upper lip and the front top gums. You can find this frenum by pulling your child’s upper lip gently away from their gums. The connective tissue makes a “v” shape where it connects from the inside of the upper lip to the gum right above and in front of where the 2 top front teeth are or will appear.
- The lingual frenum is the connective tissue between the bottom of the tongue and inside lower gums. You can find this frenum by gently lifting your child’s tongue. The connective tissue makes a “v” shape where it connects from the bottom of the tongue to the space right below and behind where the two bottom front teeth are or will appear.
Does my child need a frenectomy?
In infants, a restrictive frenum is often noticed because the child is having difficulty nursing or taking a bottle properly. In older children, who were able to feed well enough, the frenum might not be noticed early but may become apparent if the child has trouble speaking.
How will a frenectomy affect my child?
Dr. Parks uses a laser to perform a frenectomy and the procedure takes a few minutes. Infants generally cry because they have to be held still with their mouth open and wear protective goggles. Parents are welcome to be in the room for the entire procedure or opt to step out to the waiting room. Older children may be given a local anesthetic for the procedure. Tylenol can be given to children over 6 months to help with any pain after the surgery and the area will look white or light yellow for a few days as the tissue heals.
After a frenectomy, your child will slowly be able to retrain their tongue or lips and Dr. Parks may recommend some exercises for your child that will help to maintain the elasticity of the frenum.
What can I expect at the first appointment?
Right from the start patients and their parents meet with Dr. Parks for an initial exam and consult. At this appointment, ample time is given to allow Dr. Parks to discuss exam findings, treatment options and answer any questions you may have. If Dr. Parks recommends a frenectomy for your child, the procedure can be completed at the first appointment. However, if you are more comfortable waiting until another day, that is an option as well. Following the procedure mothers are encouraged to nurse their babies here in the office.