Short Frenulums And Their Treatment

Some children are born with a short frenulum. Although the term may not sound familiar, the condition is quite common. A frenulum is the band of tissue that connects the tongue and the floor of the oral cavity. Here is some information on short frenulums and how they can be corrected:

When is the frenulum considered too short?

The frenulum is considered too short if it restricts the movement of the tongue to the point of negatively impacting proper development.

In infants, a short frenulum is indicated by the baby's inability to nurse properly. During breastfeeding, the tongue forms the shape of the letter U. This allows the infant to latch onto his or her mother's breast firmly enough to provide adequate suction for milk release. If the latching is insufficient, the baby may not receive the nutrients needed for proper growth and development.

In addition, a short frenulum can affect speech development. As a child begins to form his or her words, the youngster's tongue must move in many different ways to pronounce sounds. If the frenulum is too short, the child's tongue may be too restricted to form sounds properly.

Is treatment always necessary to correct a short frenulum?

Treatment is not always necessary to correct a frenulum that is too short. In some cases, a child's frenulum becomes longer as the youngster grows. Thus, some short frenulums may normalize on their own. If a short frenulum is not causing developmental problems, the child's dentist or doctor may forgo treatment and see if the frenulum will naturally elongate.

What type of treatment is usually prescribed when a short frenulum needs to be corrected?

When is short frenulum needs to be corrected, a dentist or doctor may prescribe a tongue tie frenectomy. Tongue tie is the common term used for a short frenulum.

When the medical professional performs a frenectomy, he or she uses a scalpel or surgical scissors to snip the frenulum, freeing the tongue. The procedure is not extensively invasive and can be performed in a medical or dental office. In addition, the patient feels little pain or discomfort while a frenectomy is being performed and bleeding is also minimal. In fact, the patient should be able to resume normal activities immediately following the frenectomy.

To learn more about short frenulums and how they may be treated, schedule an appointment with a dentist or doctor in your local area.