co2 laser scalpelCO2 Light Scalpel

Maryville and Knoxville, TN

Does your infant or child have a tongue-tie or lip-tie? If so, Crestview Dental Care can correct it by performing a frenectomy. This procedure is faster, more convenient, and less invasive than ever thanks to our state-of-the-art dental laser technology. Using our carbon dioxide laser to perform a frenectomy is safer and has less healing time than performing the same procedure through a traditional surgery.

What is tethered oral tissue?

Clinically referred to as a restricted lingual frenum and also called tethered oral tissue, a tongue-tie or lip-tie can have a wide-ranging impact on the oral health of a person, affecting their ability to eat, speak, and increasing the risk of a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea. Restricted frenum means that the tongue or the upper lip is unable to move as it should, which results in long-term oral health and developmental concerns, especially for young children.

Why is a frenectomy important?

Tethered oral tissue, or TOT for short, can manifest symptoms as early as infancy. The most common symptom among infants is difficulty breastfeeding. The longer a person lives with tethered oral tissue, the greater the likelihood that negative oral habits develop to compensate for the restricted range of motion in the tongue or lip. The sooner a tethered oral tissue is released, the easier it will be to adapt to the regained mobility.

Symptoms of TOT

It can be difficult as a parent or lactation consultant to detect tethered oral tissue.

However, certain symptoms can be indicative of a tongue-tie or lip-tie in an infant, such as:

  • Unsuccessful attempts to nurse
  • Colic, excessive gas or reflux
  • Failure to thrive or gain weight
  • Failure to sustain latch
  • Lips that are calloused or blistered
  • Biting while nursing
  • Sinus congestion
  • Snoring
  • Baby is unable to drain breast completely during feedings
  • Excessive drooling
  • Frequent feedings
  • Clicking sounds while attempting to nurse

New mothers often experience these symptoms if their breastfeeding infant has tethered oral tissue:

  • Pain when infant latches
  • Cut or cracked areas on nipples
  • Nipples that are bleeding, flattened, blanched, or creased
  • Failure to bond with infant, which often leads to depression in mothers
  • Plugged ducts, engorgement, thrush or mastitis
  • Sleep deprivation (because baby is not nursing properly, and not getting full)
  • Discomfort while nursing
  • Low milk supply

If as a new mommy you or your infant has experienced any of these symptoms above, consider a consultation with Crestview Dental Care. We also invite lactation consultants who have witnessed these symptoms in their patients to contact us for help. Using our state-of-the-art CO2 Light Scalpel Laser, we can quickly, and comfortably release the tethered oral tissue through a procedure referred to as a laser frenectomy.

The benefits of a laser frenectomy

There are other methods to release the tethered oral tissue. However, at Crestview Dental Care, Dr. Tommy Spears, DDS, and Dr. Jake Goza, DDS believe that using a carbon dioxide laser to complete the procedure represents the finest option in dentistry today.

The advantages of using a laser to perform a frenectomy, and other soft tissue procedures, include the following: 

  • No bleeding compared to traditional surgery.
  • No sutures are required, and the laser immediately cauterizes any incision that is made, no bleeding, and the need for post-procedure antibiotics to combat any potential infection.
  • Less discomfort than traditional surgery. Typically, we only need to apply a local anesthetic. Infants can resume breastfeeding immediately following the frenectomy.
  • Faster. A laser frenectomy can be completed in as little as 10-20 seconds. It is performed as an outpatient procedure, with no hospital stay required.
  • Safer. The incision is made just a few nanometers deep. No other method allows the dentist more precision or control.
  • Can be performed on newborns as young as just two days old.

After a frenectomy, we may recommend gentle stretching exercises or myofunctional therapy to treat any negative oral habits that developed as a consequence of your infant’s tongue-tie or lip-tie. Myofunctional therapy consists of a course of simple exercises that look to re-train the musculature of the mouth and face. Over time, these exercises eliminate these negative oral habits, restoring the ideal resting posture and function of your orofacial system.

Early diagnosis and treatment are vital if your child has tethered oral tissue. To schedule a consultation or if you suspect that your infant may have a tongue-tie or lip-tie, call the office of Crestview Dental Care today at (865) 982-1700. We also will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the frenectomy procedure or our CO2 Light Scalpel Laser.

Crestview Dental Care is here to serve patients in the areas of Knoxville, and Maryville in east Tennessee.