The lingual frenum is the flap of membranes that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. In most cases, the lingual frenum recedes in the baby’s mouth before birth; however, sometimes a child is born with the lingual frenum attached far along the base of the tongue, causing the child to be “tongue-tied.”
Tongue tie can resolve on its own after two or three years, but in some cases, this abnormality can cause infants difficulty latching and breastfeeding well, which creates problems with proper weight gain and development. Later in life, tongue tie may also cause young children to have difficulty acquiring expressive language if it is not corrected. By restricting the movement of the tongue, it makes some sounds impossible to form. In these circumstances, our physicians may recommend a frenotomy or frenulectomy.
Both frenulectomies and frenotomies are safe, fast and simple surgical procedures that involve the physician making a small incision to the frenum to free the tongue for a greater range of motion in the mouth. The incision is made quickly and no anesthesia or sutures are required. At San Diego Pediatrics, we perform frenotomy procedures in which a small incision is made along the lingual frenum. The entire procedure takes approximately 2 minutes, so we can have you in and out of our office in no time. Your child may experience some pain and bleeding after the surgery, but he or she will be able to breastfeed immediately after the procedure.
The benefits of a frenotomy or frenulectomy include improved breastfeeding, healthier weight gain and milk supply, and prevention of potential speech impediments down the road.
San Diego Pediatrics’ physicians perform frenotomy procedures on infants within their first 28 days of life here in our office, saving families time and hassle of having to see a specialist for a simple procedure. If your child was born with a tongue tie, contact our office to see if a frenotomy is right for your child.