Laser Frenectomy

Austin’s Choice for Tongue-Tie & Lip-Tie Release

A tongue-tie or lip-tie might not seem like a big deal, but it can have big consequences on a child’s healthy development and well-being.

In babies, it can make breastfeeding tough for mother and child alike. It interferes with the child’s
ability to latch, and that inability can result in a lot of physical pain for Mom.

In older children, it can contribute to speech difficulties or make it hard for the child to eat or drink
quietly and without making a mess. It can also make oral hygiene more difficult.

Fortunately, this state of affairs can be easily corrected by a procedure called frenectomy.

And for parents in the Austin area – and even far beyond – there is one pediatric dentist they trust more than any other to perform this procedure on their children: Dr. Evy Guerrero here at Green Apple
Pediatric Dentistry. In fact, Dr. Evy was one of the very first dentists in the Austin/San Antonio area to provide this treatment and has since released more than 4500 tongue- and lip-ties in children, many referred by her vast local network of pediatricians, midwives, lactation consultants, speech language pathologists and related professionals.

What Is a Tongue- or Lip-Tie?

If you point the tip of your tongue toward the inside of your upper lip, you can feel a thin bit of tissue connecting your lip to your gums. This tissue is called a labial frenulum. Now curl the tip of your tongue up. You can see and feel another thin tissue attaching the bottom of your tongue to the floor of your mouth. That’s a lingual frenulum.

When the lingual (tongue) frenulum is so short or tight that it affects normal oral functioning, it’s
commonly called a tongue-tie; when the labial (lip) frenulum is affected, it’s called a lip-tie.

The clinical name for this condition for the tongue is ankyloglossia, and poor latch or other
breastfeeding issues are often the first clue that there’s a problem. Other common signs include
symptoms of colic or reflux in the child and creased, cracked, bruised, blistered, or bleeding nipples in the mother.

What Do I Do If I Suspect My Child Has a Tongue- or Lip-Tie?
The first thing to do is to consult with your pediatrician, lactation consultant, speech language
pathologist or other professional you’ve been working with to rule out other problems. If there are none, you may be referred to us to have a full evaluation. Your baby can have the tongue-tie release or lip-tie release on the same day most of the time.

How Is a Frenectomy Done?

The procedure itself is simple.

If the child is younger than 14 months, they will be gently swaddled. Older children (age 3 and up) may be given IV sedation and/or nitrous oxide gas. In between those ages, it’s usually best to wait until they’re old enough for the oral sedative or for the child to be cooperative.

Once the child is ready, Dr. Evy will administer a light, local, epinephrine-free anesthetic to numb the area she will be working on. She then uses a soft-tissue laser to remove the frenulum. Using a laser might mean more predictable results than with conventional surgery.

And because the laser simultaneously cauterizes the site, there is little to no bleeding. There is also reduced discomfort for the child.

Here, you can see Dr. Evy performing the procedure on a baby from Mexico City:

Is Frenectomy Only for Children?

In a word, no. Frenectomy can be done to correct tongue- and lip-ties in affected adults, as well.

And as with children, we can refer you to specialists as needed afterwards, such as myofunctional therapists who can help you retrain your facial muscles and unlearn old parafunctional habits that you may have developed over the years to compensate for your mobility limitations.

For more information on tongue and lip-tie release, including links to the science supporting its efficacy, check out our frenectomy FAQ.

Interested in seeing whether your child – or you, yourself – might benefit from this procedure, contact us now to schedule an evaluation.