Frenotomy

Some babies are born with a short frenulum, which is the thin tissue connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. This minor birth defect keeps the newborn’s tongue from moving freely. The restrictions in movement can cause difficulty with breastfeeding, which can lead to malnutrition and health problems for the baby. In some cases, it can lead to dental problems, digestive issues, and speech impediments. This condition is called tongue-tie, or being tongue-tied. A frenotomy, also called a tongue-tie release, is a minor oral surgical procedure that corrects this condition.

During the frenotomy, a nurse will gently secure your baby’s arms and head, holding them still for the procedure. A topical anesthetic gel may be applied to your baby’s frenulum to numb it for the procedure, although there are few nerves in that part of a baby’s mouth anyway. The oral surgeon will lift your baby’s tongue up with a tongue depressor and quickly snip the frenulum with a special pair of scissors.

Most children will lose very little blood if any at all[v]. They will probably drool after the procedure, until the anesthetic wears off. The location of the cut may be discolored for awhile.

The mouth heals very quickly, so there is some risk that the frenulum will reattach. The surgeon may give you some exercises to perform with your baby to keep this from happening.

Call your doctor if you notice bleeding in your baby’s mouth, if your baby experiences discomfort while eating, or if your baby develops a fever.

 

[v] https://med.stanford.edu/newborns/professional-education/frenotomy.html

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