21 Apr 2014

Laser treatment for Frenectomy (including tongue-tie)

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The muscles of the cheeks and lips are attached to the gums and tissue of the mouth by a piece of soft tissue called a frenum. Sometimes the frenum under the upper and lower lip can be positioned too close to the teeth and may cause spacing between the teeth, interfere with oral hygiene procedures or even cause gum recession.

There is also a frenum under the tongue. If this frenum is attached too close to the end of the tongue it may adversely affect swallowing, speech and can cause gum recession on the lingual (tongue ) aspect of the teeth. Sometimes this is referred to as being “tongue-tied”.

A laser frenectomy is a simple procedure where either part or all of the frenum in question is removed. The advantages of the laser as opposed to surgical removal are as follows: there is reduced bleeding with the laser, no sutures ( stitches ) are required and post-operative discomfort and swelling is much reduced.

Appointments are usually 30 minutes. The procedure is done using local anaesthetic. The cost is 200 euros. Most medical insurance partially covers the procedure at varying rates ( max. benefit paid 61 euros ). Dr Coleman only treats children age 9 or more. If tongue-tie removal is required in a child younger than nine, please contact Dr Tuite in Mount Merrion (01) 288 1279 other specialist in your area.

Patients are generally surprised at the lack of post-operative discomfort. Paracetamol or Nurofen usually provide sufficient pain relief and are required for the first 3-4 days only. The patient is able to function as normal. Patients are advised to refrain from sport if they need to wear a gum-shield for a period of one week. The wound heals rapidly and is unnoticeable after 3-4 weeks. A minor scar remains but dissipates with time. The new frenum attachment is at least 5 mm higher up, clearing the gums and releasing the tongue or the lip respectively.

Example of a laser labial frenectomy in a 9 year old

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Pre treatment                        Immediately Post treatment         1 week later                4 weeks later

The following two examples are of very large frenums extending in between the anterior central incisors and neither of these patients experienced excessive post-treatment discomfort.

Labial Frenectomy in an 8 year old 

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Pre Treatment                                      Immediately Post treatment                Four weeks later

Labial Frenectomy in a 16 year old

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Pre treatment

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1 week post treatment                  4 weeks later

Lingual frenectomy in an Adult

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Immediate Post Treatment                                                                          2 years later

Tongue Extension in a Five year Old

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Pre-Treatment                    Tongue Extension post Treatment                           Post Treatment Wound

By Dr. Veronique Coleman