That extra little bit of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth may look small, but it can really limit the range of motion while your baby is feeding. It’s called the frenulum, and many babies are born with one that is tight or restrictive. You are likely to notice problems during breastfeeding that ranges from difficulty feeding to a poor latch, discomfort, and/or an irritable baby as a result. Fortunately, there is a minor procedure that can solve the problem — and Dr. Paige Prather is an expert in the treatment. Keep reading to learn more about the frenectomy in Nashville.
What Problems Can the Frenulum Cause?
It’s known as lip or tongue tie, and it’s what happens when the frenulum is so tight it restricts the free range of these tissues. The labial frenulum (which is between the lip and the gums) causes lip tie, while the lingual frenulum beneath the tongue causes tongue tie. Frenulums exist throughout the body to keep one bit of soft tissue from separating from the body. We are not sure why they vary in strength.
In babies, this tissue can affect the ability to feed and, as a result, can slow development due to poor nutrition. Of course, difficulty feeding affects parents, too — everyone may be a little more irritable or sleepy due to a hungry or fussy baby.
Some of the issues associated with lip and tongue tie in babies include:
- Difficulty latching on
- Gassy baby
- More frequent feeding times
- Sore nipples for breastfeeding mother
- Feelings of depression or anxiety
- Poor sleep
As the baby gets older, the problems associated with lip or tongue tie may turn into serious developmental issues if the lip or tongue tie is not treated. Your child may be reluctant to eat certain foods that are difficult to chew. A speech impediment may form, too.
What Is the Solution?
Often, a restrictive frenulum will be treated in the hospital directly after birth. If lip or tongue tie is not caught at this early stage, however, you should make sure to have it treated as soon as you recognize the symptoms.
A qualified dentist can perform a frenectomy with ease and efficiency. During the procedure, the dentist carefully removes just the precise amount of excess tissue to help your baby’s mouth function properly. Your baby will be encouraged to breastfeed immediately after the procedure is complete. You will be sent home with specific instructions on ways to move the area to encourage healing and ensure he or she regains full range of motion.
Is your baby dealing with the symptoms of lip or tongue tie? If so, don’t hesitate to get started with a solution! You and your baby will be so glad you did.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Paige Prather is a general dentist and expert in performing frenectomies. To learn more about this procedure or to schedule a consultation for you and your little one, you are invited to contact the office at 615-771-2151.