Tongue & Lip Ties in Winston Salem, NC

What Is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a simple dental procedure that removes tongue and lip ties to allow your child to move their lips or tongue properly. These issues occur when the “frenulum,” a band of connective tissue, is overdeveloped. This then impairs the natural movement of the lips, tongue, or both. During a frenectomy at our Winston-Salem office, the tissue banned is released using a state-of-the-art CO2 laser so your little one can freely move their tongue and lips with ease.

Why Might My Child Need a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy can be performed on children of any age, starting with the first days of life. Often, short tongue or lip ties can make nursing difficult, with the infant not latching correctly, therefore not getting enough nutrition. New mothers can bring their infants to our office, where we will gently examine the mouth and decide if a frenectomy is necessary.

Frenectomies can also be performed on toddlers, school children, and even teenagers who still experience speaking, eating, or sleeping difficulties due to tongue or lip ties. In older children, frenectomies are needed if ties cause difficulties when eating or pronouncing certain words or when contributing to sleep-disordered breathing symptoms.

A toddler tooth brushing
Dental appointment

What to Expect at Your Child’s Frenectomy Appointment

A frenectomy is a quick and simple procedure that is performed to release a tongue-tie or lip-tie (a restrictive band of tissue beneath the tongue and lip). In infants and young children, it takes less than 30 seconds to perform, after applying a topical anesthetic that numbs the area.

Dr. Annie will release the tie using a state-of-the-art CO2 laser which is extremely gentle on the tissue and causes little to no bleeding. Rarely are sutures needed.  

Then, Dr. Annie and our Winston-Salem team will review with you the necessary post-operative stretches you will need to perform daily to help your child's wound heal properly.

Types of Frenectomies

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A lingual frenectomy is performed by releasing a tongue tie that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If this "tie" is too short, the child cannot move the tongue freely, which can cause problems with nursing infants, as well as eating, speaking, and sleeping difficulty in older children. Sometimes the tie is easily visible, attaching closer to the tip of the tongue (anterior tie) while other times the restriction can be more difficult to see, hidden behind mucosa at the base of the tongue (posterior tie).

Common signs & symptoms of an infant tongue tie:
• Shallow / painful latch
• Incomplete breast drainage when nursing
• Clicking sound when feeding
• Ingesting excessing air when feeding
• Restriction of the tongue’s movement
• Heart-shaped or notched tongue presentation

A labial frenectomy is performed by releasing a lip-tie that connects the lip to the gingiva (gums). If this "tie" is too thick or tight, the child cannot lift the lip freely, which primarily causes problems for nursing infants. Severe lip-ties can make brushing the top front teeth difficult and uncomfortable for children of all ages. It can also cause a diastema (gap) between the front permanent teeth if left untreated.

Common signs & symptoms of an infant tongue tie:
• Shallow / painful latch
• Incomplete breast drainage when nursing
• Clicking sound when feeding
• Ingesting excessing air when feeding
• Restriction of the tongue’s movement
• Heart-shaped or notched tongue presentation

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if my child needs a frenectomy?

If your infant is having difficulty breastfeeding, or if your child is opening their mouth when breathing, has difficulty eating, or is experiencing a speech impediment, we recommend you see Dr. Annie to assess the situation.

Are frenectomies painful?

Thanks to the incredible technology of a CO2 laser, a frenectomy can be performed with minimal discomfort using only topical (for infants), and sometimes local anesthesia (for older children). With laser dentistry your child will experience minimal to no bleeding. Any post-operative discomfort is managed with over-the-counter pain medications.