One of the special anatomical features of your mouth is the frenum. A frenum is simply a small muscle that attaches two tissues and your mouth has three of them. The lingual frenum anchors your tongue to the bottom of the mouth and the two labial frena attach your lips to the gums near your front teeth. A surprising number of children have shorter-than-average frena that can cause no symptoms or cause them to be tongue-tied which will hinder their ability to eat and speak properly. A frenectomy is an easy way to correct this.
When a frenum is too short, you may notice some of the following symptoms in your infant:
- Irritability or fussiness after feedings without other cause
- Trouble maintaining suction while nursing that causes the infant to become tired and fall asleep before feeding is completed
- Not gaining weight sufficiently or unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty latching on and chewing on the nipple instead
A short frenum may not be diagnosed until the child is older and the mouth has had a chance to grow. Symptoms in older children include:
- Gaps in the bottom front teeth
- Difficulty pronouncing t, d, z, s, th and n.
- Inability to use tongue to clean off teeth
Deciding to not have a recommended frenectomy performed could result in failure to thrive in infants and embarrassing speech difficulties for older children. A frenectomy is a quick procedure that is easily performed in our office in just minutes. We’ll use a local anesthetic to completely numb the tongue and then do a quick snip of the problem muscle to release the tongue.
At Anthem Periodontics and Dental Implants, our priority is to always do what is best for the patient. We will not suggest any procedure unless we truly believe it is necessary and beneficial to you. If you suspect that your child may be having frenum issues, schedule an appointment today to see if a frenectomy can improve their quality of life.