Is your baby having a difficult time feeding? Is latching to the breast or bottle difficult for your infant. Do you notice your baby breathing through their mouth instead of normal nasal breathing? Are the gassy from swallowing too much air? At Breathe Airway in Treasure Valley, the skilled team of doctors and myofunctional therapists offer frenectomies to help your infant feed and breathe better. Call the office to schedule an appointment or book online today.

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Infant Frenectomy Q&A

What is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that removes the frenulum in the oral cavity. The oral frenulum are small folds or ridges of tissue that support or limits the motion of the part to which it is attached, in particular a fold of skin beneath the tongue, or between the lip and the gum.

Sometimes a frenulum becomes too restrictive and can reduce the normal movement of the lips and tongue, and health consequences can occur. In adults this can be associated with sleep disordered breathing, malformation of the jaws, and mouth breathing. In children and adolescents, it is linked to sleep apnea, speech impairment, abnormal swallow, and malformation of the teeth and jaws. With infants, breastfeeding is impaired as well as nasal breathing.

By removing this excess tissue, some of these conditions can be improved or eliminated. The earlier in life these conditions are corrected, the better outcomes we see later.


What is a tongue tie?

Under the tongue there is a frenulum that limits the movement of the tongue. In some circumstances this tissue can be short and tight limiting the natural function of the tongue. Proper function of the tongue is crucial to how we feed from infancy leading to optimal growth and facial development. In infancy, tongue ties can make breastfeeding difficult or impossible. Later in life, a restricted tongue can lead to a high arched palate, dental crowding, mouth breathing during sleep, cavities, and enlarged tonsils.


What is a lip tie?

Under the lip is a frenulum connecting the lip to the dental arch. Research shows 96% of babies have this attachment. Sometimes this frenulum is restrictive causing a dysfunction. Frenulum that are restrictive tend to be shorter and more fibrous leading to inflexibility of the lip to lift. Babies with a restrictive lip tie can have lip blisters, difficulty creating a seal at the breast and tend to be gassier and fussier from swallowing too much air. 


When is an infant frenectomy necessary?

With infants, we rely greatly on our network of lactation consultants to find dysfunction. These highly trained individuals will work with us to establish a comprehensive assessment to ensure a procedure is indicated to improve function. Once a need is established, we will see your baby for a consultation. We assess your baby’s body posture and oral motor function as well as possible tongue and lip tie restrictions. After we gather all the information so we can make a true assessment if a procedure is warranted.


What does the frenectomy procedure look like?

We start the procedure by applying topical anesthetic on the frenum. Baby will remain with parents for about 5 minutes to allow the topical to take effect. At this point parents are asked to remain in the waiting room while the procedure is being performed. Utilizing a high-quality CO2 laser, we will remove the frenulum with pinpoint precision. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes and then the baby is returned to parents for feeding.

If you think your baby needs a frenectomy, please call us today to set up a consultation.