Infant Frenectomy (Tongue/Lip Tie)

Tongue or Lip Tie

A tongue tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition in which an unusually short, thick and/or tight band of tissue (lingual frenum) tethers the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. A lip tie is a condition when the tissue (labial frenum) connecting the upper lip to the gum tissue is too thick, short and/or tight. Research shows that anywhere from 4-11% of newborns have some form of a tongue or lip tie. A tongue/lip tie can inhibit the ability of an infant to properly latch and breastfeed comfortably. A  frenectomy is a simple procedure that consists of the removal of the frenum, allowing the lips and tongue to move more freely to aid in breastfeeding.

For the procedure Dr. Lamontagne uses topical anesthetic to provide anesthesia. A soft tissue laser is used to safely and effectively remove the tissue. Lasers have many benefits over the use of scalpels or scissors such as: patient safety, less inflammation therefore less pain and a faster recovery, little to no pain during the procedure and minimal to no bleeding after treatment.

There are many reasons an infant may require a tongue and/or lip frenectomy such as:

  • Unable to latch
  • Slides off of the nipple when attempting to latch
  • Chews nipple during feeding
  • Falls asleep while nursing
  • Colic/reflux symptoms
  • Minimal weight gain
  • Clicking noise created during breastfeeding
  • Incomplete breast drainage after feedings
  • Severe pain when an infant latches
  • Cracked/bruised/blistered nipples
  • Plugged ducts
  • Mastitis/thrush

Research strongly suggests that speech issues rarely require surgical intervention and that instead one should seek treatment from a qualified Speech Pathologist.

Following any frenectomy procedures it is imperative that parents perform daily stretching and muscular exercises to encourage proper healing and success of the procedure. If no stretching exercises are performed then the frenum can return and cause the same problem as prior to treatment. The exercises help elongate the tissue to help solve the original problems.