Do you have trouble licking an ice cream cone? Wetting your lips? Maybe you even can’t stick out your tongue? If any of this sounds familiar, you may have a condition called ankyloglossia, or tongue-tie. Chances are if you’ve gotten to this point without treatment you don’t need to correct this feature. If it is impacting your quality of life, however, you may be interested to know that there is a very quick and simple treatment available to you: a frenectomy.
What is Ankyloglossia?
Ankyloglossia, also known as tongue-tie or anchored tongue, is a minor birth defect. Most people have a frenum (or frenulum), a thin strip of muscular tissue between your lips, teeth, and tongue. There are two types in the mouth, the lingual frenum and the labial frenum, and each can cause their own problems. Ankyloglossia occurs when any of these frena are too short or too tight, or when the frenulum runs all the way to the tip of the tongue. This situation is very common, occurring in millions of people worldwide.
This refers to the strip of tissue between the tongue and the floor of the mouth. Problems with the lingual frenum are most common and include:
- Limited tongue movement
- Difficulty eating and swallowing
- Failure to latch on in nursing infants
- Speech impediment
- Oral hygiene problems
The labial frenum is the small piece of tissue between the gums and lips. There are two: one each on top and bottom. If this frenum is too developed, it can cause a gap to form between the front teeth.
A frenectomy is a very simple procedure that takes as little as 30 minutes. A local anesthetic is usual, so you can stay awake the whole time, but if this makes you uncomfortable ask us about sedation dentistry. Dr. Robert Cain uses laser dentistry, a technique that is typically less painful and more precise than typical surgical dentistry. You healing time should also be shorter than with traditional techniques.
Healing after a laser dentistry frenectomy should be quick and easy. Many people say they forget they even had surgery. The most important thing is to keep your mouth clean. You should be able to eat like normal, but make sure to use a salt water solution or antibacterial mouthwash afterwards. Any discomfort or swelling should be gone within two to three days, but if you have any questions or concerns be sure to call East Tennessee Periodontics and let us set your mind at ease.
Schedule a Consultation
If you think you may need a frenectomy, schedule a consultation with Dr. Cain today to discuss your treatment options. Contact East Tennessee Periodontics online or at (865) 280-1173, and don’t let your ankyloglossia hold you back any longer.