Karl J Zeren, D.D.S.

Brandon M. West, D.D.S., M.S.

Diplomates of the American Board of Periodontology
Practice Limited to Periodontics & Dental Implant Surgery


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A frenulum is a fold of tissue that helps to anchor a loose organ in place, preventing too much movement. The human body is home to many frena. You have two frena in your mouth. One anchors the tongue to the floor of your mouth while the other anchors your upper lip to the gums above the two front teeth. While these frena are meant to anchor the tongue and upper lip in place, they can be too tight, restricting movement too much. This causes a tongue or lip tie. Karl Zeren DDS can treat tongue and lip ties with a frenectomy.

What Is A Tongue Or Lip Tie?

A tongue or lip tie occurs when the frenulum anchoring the tongue or upper lip is too tight. It is an issue that is present at birth. When this happens, movement can be significantly restricted. Both of these issues can cause serious complications.

A tongue tie occurs when the frenulum attaching the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too tight, or it is attached too closely to the tip of the tongue. The severity of the tie can vary, but when it occurs, it can affect the ability of the infant to breast or bottle feed. Nursing infants have a poor latch, which not only affects the amount of milk they can get but can also cause pain for the mother. A lip tie can also cause issues with oral development, causing difficulties with speech development and the actual development of the mouth. Your child may also have trouble swallowing properly.

A lip tie occurs when the frenulum attaching the upper lip to the gums is too tight. This type of tie can also impact the ability of an infant to feed effectively. Additionally, a lip tie can lead to the formation of a diastema, or gap between the two front teeth. This gap not only impacts the quality of the smile but can leave your child more vulnerable to cavities and other issues. While orthodontics can help to close a gap, an untreated lip tie can cause the gap to reappear.

What Is A Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a procedure performed to treat a tongue or lip tie. In releasing the tie, the tongue or lip can move more effectively. This aids in improving the feeding ability of an infant as well as helps to ensure proper oral development.

Traditionally, a frenectomy has been performed using a scalpel. While effective, this treatment causes bleeding, pain, and swelling, as well as increases the risk of complications. Today, we can perform frenectomies using a laser. A laser uses a concentrated beam of light to release a tie. The laser cauterizes as it cuts, reducing bleeding. Pinpoint accuracy also enables us to perform the procedure more precisely, which can reduce pain and swelling. Stitches generally are not necessary when using a laser, and an infant can feed immediately afterward.

Frenectomy Benefits

A frenectomy provides many benefits:

  • An infant can feed more effectively.
  • With a proper latch, pain is eliminated for nursing mothers.
  • The breastfeeding relationship between infant and mother is improved.
  • Your child can develop proper speech patterns.
  • The mouth can develop normally.

With a frenectomy, we can help to release a tongue or lip tie, enabling proper movement of the tongue and upper lip.


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