"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy"

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Infant Laser Frenectomies

At Dino Dental, we regularly support families throughout the region to help their infants who have trouble nursing due to lip-tie and tongue-tie issues every day.

These parents can be under tremendous stress with a child who cannot nurse effectively and are often nervous about a surgical procedure in such a young child. For Dr. James, seeing the relief and joy on parents’ faces once the procedure is completed and the child’s nursing improves is priceless. Dr. James and Dr. Lauren utilized the procedure on their own infant daughter to allow Dr. Lauren and the baby to continue breastfeeding without excruciating pain.

A frenectomy (or frenotomy) is a procedure used to correct a congenital condition where the tongue frenum or upper lip frenum is too tight. When the tongue frenum is too tight it is commonly called tongue tie (or ankyloglossia). When the lip frenum is too tight it is commonly called a lip tie. Both can cause restrictions of movement of the tongue or lip preventing normal positioning during breastfeeding. A tight lingual or labial frenum may also be related to dental decay, spacing, speech difficulties or and digestive problems.

Tongue or lip ties can cause difficulties with breastfeeding. Tongue and lip-ties are relatively common – they can affect anywhere from 5-10% of the population. Your lactation consultant, doula and/or doctor will look at your baby’s tongue and/or lip to determine if they have a tie. If your baby has a tie and you are having pain with breastfeeding, your practitioner may refer you for an infant frenectomy. At your dental visit, the severity of the lip and/or tongue tie will be assessed. A frenectomy may help improve symptoms, decrease breastfeeding pain and/or improve your infant’s latch.

In order to get milk from the breast, the baby must move his tongue in a wave motion to draw the nipple and areola into his/her mouth and then press them against the roof of his/her mouth. If the tongue is tied, the baby is unable to make the wave motion, he/she may instead compress the breast tissue instead which can cause nipple pain or damage. It is always good to be evaluated by a healthcare provider if you think your baby may have a tongue tie.

A lip-tie affects a baby’s ability to latch onto the breast and achieve a good seal because the movement of the upper lip is restricted. The baby’s upper lip is unable to flange and so only the nipple goes into the mouth, Therefore, a lip-tie can also cause pain or nipple damage during breastfeeding.

The procedure is relatively painless. The baby is crying mostly because he is being held. The baby is put on the breast immediately following the procedure. Overall the procedure is simple and safe with a very small risk of infection. A lot of times the mother will notice an immediate improvement in the latch. The earlier the procedure is done, the less time it will take the baby to nurse effectively.

The rate of breastfeeding has increased dramatically and doctors used to prefer to watch and wait or recommend bottle feeding rather than this simple procedure.

Traditional treatments for baby tongue-tie consists of “clipping and/or cutting” which then results in bleeding and a lot of undue stress on the child and parents. We do a CO2 Laser Frenectomy, which uses cool water during the procedure, there is little bleeding, very little pain, and very little risk of infection and the healing is instantaneous for infants.