Does your child have a tongue-tie? If so, you’ve likely been recommended for a frenectomy to release the band of tissue and improve oral function. If this term sounds new, you may be surprised to learn that this type of procedure has been around for centuries. However, for many years, it seemed to have disappeared only to recently return. What happened and why is there is now an influx for lip and tongue-tie treatment? A local dentist explains the history behind frenectomies and what you should look for that may determine if your child needs this type of procedure.
Frenectomies: A Brief History
A tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia (AG), is not a new phenomenon. For centuries, children have dealt with this restricted band of tissue underneath their tongues, keeping them from achieving proper oral function. During this time, frenectomies were performed by physicians; however, it became less popular over time as women turned away from breastfeeding. The use of a bottle and formula became the norm with many doctors and scientists encouraging the practice. As a result, many infants no longer faced the same difficulties in taking a bottle as they did while attempting to latch.
However, as the years progressed, women became more aware of the benefits of breastfeeding and began to experience many problems with regard to their child’s inability to latch and effectively feed. Because it requires the right technique, an infant with a tongue-tie may struggle to perform the task naturally, resulting in a fussy and hungry baby as well as an overwhelmed and upset mother.
Fortunately, the frenectomy returned with many dentists and physicians helping to release the banded tissue and provide babies and their mothers the opportunity to bond better than before. Now that these procedures are more common, you can feel more at ease knowing that your child’s dentist can easily remedy the problem and help your little one more easily breastfeed.
What Signs Point to a Possible Frenectomy
Should you discover that your little one is struggling to latch or is not gaining weight, it’s important that seek professional help to determine if they might need a frenectomy. Some signs to watch for include:
- Difficulty latching while attempting to breastfeed
- Difficulty using a bottle when prompted
- Colic or acid reflux
- Difficulty use a pacifier
As a mother, you may also notice blocked milk ducts, prolonged feedings that lead to chronic fatigue, depression, red or swollen nipples, and even increased pain while attempting to nurse your baby.
While it is natural to feel overwhelmed when a lip or tongue-tie exist, it’s important that you remember it is not your fault, nor is it your baby’s. Seeking the help of a trusted dentist can reduce unwanted stress and get you and your baby back on track to a healthy and positive bonding experience.
A frenectomy is the safest, most effective way to gently release the banded tissue and give your baby the chance to move their tongue freely, so don’t wait to seek help.