Fantastic Frenectomies are not frenetic or frantic. Frenectomies are surgical procedures. They are done to release a child’s tongue from a tight piece of skin that prevents it from moving freely.
A frenectomy is often a cause of great concern to our young patients’ parents. Naturally, parents become anxious any time a condition requires surgery. This is especially true when the patient is a baby, a toddler, or a young child.
So today we will present the truth about tongue-and-lip ties, and the pediatric dentists who defeat them. When you bring your baby for an initial meet-and-greet appointment with Dr. Troy King, he will check your child for tongue or lip ties.
He also checks them for other oral anomalies, even if they are tiny and toothless babies. Here at Dentistry for children, we greatly enjoy seeing these new members of the family. Additionally, we love the pride often exhibited by the older brothers and sisters who know all about teeth. However, not only babies benefit from fantastic frenectomies; sometimes older children need it also.
So, What is So Fantastic about Frenectomies?
Today, dentists can treat most tongue and lip ties with an instrument any child of five would call a small light-saber, right out of their Star Wars fantasy. Parents know that in dentistry, lasers are not weapons of war.
Instead, they are powerful instruments of healing. (So, if his baby brother needs a frenectomy, please reassure the 5-year-old brother or sister that Dr. King’s tiny laser will not hurt the baby.)
In fact, dentists have been using small, modern “light-sabers” in dental surgery since 1990. Previously, we have stated in articles about tongue-tie, Dr. Troy King delicately corrects Tongue-and-Lip ties with a type of delicate laser instrument termed a “soft tissue laser.”
Fantastic Frenectomies: Why Do Tongue-and-Lip Ties Require Surgery?
When the tongue is tied down by a tight piece of tissue, it affects how a person eats, talks, and breathes. Likewise, although not well-known, there is an anatomical result.
When the tongue tie inhibits proper movement, the tongue position can even affect how the jaw and teeth develop and grow. AAPD member Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar stated, “in the past decade volumes of research have been published documenting the negative effects of a tongue tie over the course of a person’s life.”
By the way, the more technical, medical description of a tongue tie, is Ankyloglossia.
You might have recently seen reports about the remarkably life-changing tongue-tie experience of a little boy named Mason in the news. There was a great deal of publicity about his case. It was, in a word, fantastic.
Mason’s Miracle: A Case Study
Dr. Luedemann-Lazar reported, “Mason Motz and his family walked into our practice in March of 2017. His family came to our practice, Kidstown Dental, because of our reputation using Dr. David Tesini’s D-Termined Program for children with special needs.
On his first visit, my associate, Dr. Rachael Garrett, recommended that Mason have sedation to complete his dental treatment. A little over a month later, I met Mason’s family in pre-op.”
She added, “In addition to cavities, I diagnosed a tongue-tie. As part of completing his care, I did a frenectomy.” After the surgery, Mason’s therapy included the Myobrace system. (More about that, later.) And it was at a family follow-up visit that Dr. Luedemann-Lazar learned about Mason’s transformative miracle.
A Fantastic Frenectomy Story
When the doctor did Mason’s frenectomy, he was six years old. However, he only spoke six words. However, only hours after the surgery, Mason began speaking in complete sentences.
The surgery freed his tongue-tie. Then therapy with the Myobrace system advanced his progress.
The Myobrace System
1. What is the Myobrace system? Designed for children 5-15 years old, the Myobrace System is a no-braces approach to straightening a patient’s teeth and jaws.
2. How does Myobrace work? The child will wear a series of dental appliances 1-2 hours a day and during sleep. This is done by using a series of removable dental appliances that are worn for just 1-2 hours each day and overnight while sleeping.
3. For a frame of reference, think of the specialized dental appliances as sports mouthguards or Invisalign braces. There are even special games and exercises that help a child each time he or she uses them.
Mason’s Miraculous Results after the Frenectomy
The doctor wrote, “After starting the Myobrace System more occurred with Mason. Prior to the surgery he had many of the “hallmark issues” related to tongue-tie. This included speech delay, gagging with eating, mouth breathing, cavities, ear infections, sleep issues, and malocclusion.” She added a litany of small miracles to Mason’s story:
- Only six months after the surgery, Mason quit grinding his teeth.
- He also stopped snoring.
- Likewise, he stopped gagging during eating. Structurally, the Myobrace therapy corrected his crossbite and the crowding of his little teeth.
Fantastic Frenectomies Create Life-changing Miracles
In Mason’s case, his entire quality of life improved. “He now communicates as a bright and vibrant 7-year-old.” In fact, the doctor calls him a chatterbox.
Psychological and behavior changes followed. With his “improved airway, ability to sleep and eat and communicate, Mason now loves the dentist’s office. He need not be sedated for typical dental cleaning or X-rays.
The doctor concluded by stating she routinely sees miracles like Mason’s case, and they begin with fantastic frenectomies. But she also stated an important insight that is dear to Dr. Troy King’s heart.
She shared, “I have learned from this whole experience that it is sadly common for providers to neglect looking for a tongue-tie in the special needs population.” Thus, we share this story to reassure you that here at Dentistry for Children, no child or baby goes un-checked for a possible tongue tie.
Terrific Take-Aways from Fantastic Frenectomies
There are several important reasons the Tongue-and-Lip ties can interfere with normal growth and development. Here is a convenient review of the main points every parent should know.
1. The tongue-and/or-Lip Tie is medically termed ankyloglossia. It is caused by a small tight piece of skin between the underside of a person’s tongue and the floor of their mouth.
2. Either a Tongue or a Lip Tie can seriously interfere with a baby’s ability to breastfeed.
3. If the condition is not alleviated, a toddler will have numerous difficulties. These may include breathing, eating, sleeping, and forming proper words in any language.
4. Then the problem will turn social and psychological. You see, in older children, difficulty in speech and eating can contribute to low self-esteem and poor self-image.
This small tight piece of skin is called the Frenulum or frenum.
In a Frenectomy, Dr. King will use his laser or a scalpel to snip or alter this tiny piece of tissue. This procedure releases the tongue to move freely and properly.
We think that’s pretty…well… fantastic. There is, by the way, very little pain or blood associated with this surgical procedure. And whenever we see Dr. King preparing his laser, we know he is a secret Jedi Knight. And his small light-saber can slay any frenum–or any dental dragon–that comes your child’s way.