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Tongue and lip ties are conditions that occur when the thin pieces of tissue connecting the tongue and lips to the floor of the mouth and gums, respectively, are too tight or restrict movement. These pieces of tissue are known as frenula or frenums. A tongue tie, or ankyloglossia, refers to a condition where the frenulum beneath the tongue is unusually short, tight, or thick, limiting the tongue’s range of motion. This restriction can affect various functions such as breastfeeding, speech, swallowing, and oral hygiene. Similarly, a lip tie occurs when the frenulum attaching the upper or lower lip to the gums is overly tight, resulting in limited lip mobility. This can cause difficulties with breastfeeding, dental hygiene, and even orthodontic treatment later in life. To address tongue and lip ties, a procedure called a frenectomy is commonly performed. A frenectomy involves releasing or loosening the tight frenulum to allow for improved mobility and function.

While there are different techniques for performing frenectomies, one increasingly popular method involves using a CO2 laser. A CO2 laser, which emits a concentrated beam of light, is used to precisely cut and cauterize the frenulum tissue. The laser’s focused energy ensures minimal bleeding during the procedure and also seals blood vessels, reducing the risk of complications and enhancing the healing process. Additionally, the CO2 laser’s accuracy allows for greater control and precision compared to traditional surgical methods. During the frenectomy procedure with a CO2 laser, the area is typically numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort. The laser is then used to precisely remove or reshape the frenulum, freeing the tongue or lip for improved range of motion. The procedure is usually brief and performed on an outpatient basis.

After the frenectomy, it’s essential to follow post-operative care instructions provided by the healthcare professional. This typically includes keeping the area clean, practicing gentle stretching exercises, and maintaining good oral hygiene. Recovery times may vary, but most individuals experience minimal discomfort and can resume normal activities relatively quickly. It’s important to consult with a qualified healthcare provider, such as a pediatric dentist, oral surgeon, or ENT specialist, for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendation. They can evaluate the severity of the tongue or lip tie and determine whether a frenectomy, including the use of a CO2 laser, is necessary.

Dr. Susan is certified as an Ambassador for The Breathe Institute, certified with the Tongue-Tie Academy, and Light Scalpel CO2 Laser. She works with each individual newborn, baby, kids and teens and the families to provide the best outcome for tongue and lip tie releases.

Pediatric Lip Tie Issue
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Common Questions About Dental Emergencies

Can you help with my child’s dental emergency?

Over more than two decades of dental practice, Dr. Susan has helped countless children with dental emergencies. You can rest confidently in her skills and expertise to help make your child’s smile right. Our top-notch dental team delivers compassionate and gentle care and will make sure your little one receives the best treatment possible during their dental crisis.

What are common dental emergencies that kids have?

There are few emergencies that Dr. Susan hasn’t seen in her many years of practice. Some are certainly more common than others. Emergencies that we see often include toothaches caused by a cavity or an infection, cracked teeth, and broken teeth. In most cases, we’re able to resolve all these situations with restorative dentistry.

Can I take my child to the ER for dental emergencies?

Yes, you can. However, since they don’t have dentists on staff, your child won’t be able to get a tooth filling, pulpotomy, extraction, or other dental procedure. If they have an infection, the ER can provide antibiotics to keep it under control until they can see us. ER doctors may also be able to prescribe pain-relieving medication that is stronger than an over-the-counter medication.

What if I have a dental emergency without insurance?

Just because you don’t have dental insurance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t receive the same level of care as someone who does. We’ll happily treat your dental emergency, and we provide several payment options to take care of the cost, including third-party financing through CareCredit. We’ll do our best to make sure you get the care you need.