Hey, my name is Shelly Katalgo. My love for sedation dentistry started in high school. My best friend had a severe fear of going to the dentist and I wanted to help her feel better about it. Although I always enjoyed my dental visits, I felt bad that she struggled so much with going to hers. My parents taught me about sedation dentistry and I instantly dreamed of becoming a dental professional. I wanted to help kids like my friend stay fear free throughout their appointments by using gentle techniques and professional medications. Although I opted to follow a different career path, my passion for dentistry remained throughout the years. I will update my site with developments in this industry as soon as they are reported. I will also discuss the benefits of sedation dentistry in detail. Thanks for visiting. I hope you come back soon.
It's bound to be a bit alarming when your family dentist tells you that they need to zap your child with a laser. And yet this is precisely what a dentist must do to correct your child's restricted lingual frenulum. But what is a lingual frenulum, and why does it sometimes need to be corrected?
The Lingual Frenulum
If you were to look into a mirror with your mouth open and your tongue pointed at the roof of the mouth, you will see your own lingual frenulum. This is the fold of tissue beneath your tongue, and it's intended to restrict the movement of the tongue. However, for some people, this restriction is too great, interfering with your child's ability to consume certain foods and drinks (including breastfeeding, which is why the procedure is often performed early in life). As your child grows older, their restrictive lingual frenulum can also cause a speech impediment.
Beneficial for Your Child
The lingual frenulum naturally loses some of its mass as a person ages, however, for some people, its initial thickness means that this natural decrease won't be sufficient. The procedure (which is known as a lingual frenectomy) is recommended on a case-by-case basis, so if your dentist suggests that it will be beneficial for your child, it's simply because the natural size of your child's lingual frenulum is potentially problematic. The procedure is typically performed by a dentist since your dentist is often the first medical professional to discover the issue during a routine examination.
So how does the laser play a role? As you may have already guessed, the lingual frenulum is released using a laser, making small, precise incisions in the tissue. A laser is preferred, as it instantly cauterizes the tissue so that stitches are generally not required. Your child will be given a local anesthetic to numb their mouth, meaning that the process itself is painless. However, there will be some discomfort as this anesthetic wears off.
Your dentist will give you precise aftercare instructions, and your child may need additional pain relief. Over-the-counter medication appropriate for your child's age and size will be more than adequate. Some dietary considerations will be applicable in the days after your child's lingual frenectomy, and this is just a case of giving your child soft, easy-to-chew food at a moderate temperature. Your dentist can provide you with a list of dietary recommendations if you're unsure.
A lingual frenectomy is a very simple procedure, and it can greatly improve many aspects of your child's development. Speak with a family dentist for more information.