Kusp Pediatric Dentistry

Functional Frenuloplasty

Like many of the providers in your child’s lives, Pediatric Dentists are a partner with parents and pediatricians alike to ensure the well-being and healthy development of the children in our practices. Oral health and wellness can have a major impact on a child’s overall growth. There are many individuals in the medical community that have aligned with a less traditional means of treating patients with a focus on functional medicine and trying to assess the root cause of disease beyond what a provider may see at face value. Functional medicine also translates well into dentistry because some of the oral health issues we may see in children such as dental caries, tooth grinding, excessive drooling, appropriate chewing and nursing, and oral habits like thumb sucking may have underlying systemic health issues such as anatomical variations, allergies, nutritional/vitamin deficiencies, or hormonal imbalances.

One commonly missed issue seen in many children are the oral frenulum attachments. The oral frenum attachments are little pieces of tissue between two anatomical structures – you can feel your very own frenulum while you read this by putting you tongue between your two front upper teeth and upper lip. That little tight tissue is called your labial frenulum. These are also located by the upper back molars on the left and right sides, called the buccal frenulum. There is also a frenum attachment under the tongue called the lingual frenum. Sometimes, when these attachments are too thick or too short, we can see there are oral health implications. In infants this may be seen in inability to latch and/or nurse properly, excessive air intake when nursing or bottle feedings, or painful nursing for the mother. This is also manifested as inappropriate tongue position which can have an effect on breathing and airway.  Later, thick or tight frenulum attachments can cause speech issues, increased risk of caries, and gingival (gum) recession.

See also  Primary Teeth

Fortunately, pediatric dentists offer a unique therapy known as functional frenuloplasty that can help address these concerns and promote optimal oral health and facilitate healthy growth and development. Functional frenuloplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed by releasing a more restrictive frenulum. This procedure can be done with a laser or with traditional surgical technique (scissor or scalpel). 

This release, with the appropriate post operative exercises can allow for better tongue posture and lip mobility, allowing for improved oral function. This includes proper tongue movement during speech, swallowing, and feeding, leading to enhanced eating abilities and overall oral hygiene.

Speech Development

Tongue-tie and lip-tie can impact speech development in children. Functional frenuloplasty can address these issues, promoting clearer speech and pronunciation, and potentially preventing future speech impediments.

Healthy Feeding

For infants and young children, tongue-tie or lip-tie can interfere with breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Functional frenuloplasty can help resolve these challenges, allowing infants to latch more effectively and facilitating proper nutrition intake.

Dental Health

Correcting tongue-tie or lip-tie through functional frenuloplasty can positively impact dental health. Improved tongue movement assists in proper dental hygiene practices, reducing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues.

Facial and Jaw Development

The tongue plays a crucial role in guiding facial and jaw growth. Untreated tongue-tie can contribute to improper facial development, such as high-arched palate or a narrow jaw. By addressing these concerns early through functional frenuloplasty, pediatric dentists can help promote balanced facial and jaw development.

Expertise in Child Development

Pediatric dentists have extensive knowledge of child development, including the oral cavity. They are well-versed in assessing the impact of tongue-tie and lip-tie on a child’s overall development, and functional frenuloplasty is one of the effective therapies they can offer to promote optimal growth and function.

Minimally Invasive Treatment

Pediatric dentists understand the importance of providing minimally invasive treatments for children. Functional frenuloplasty is a relatively simple procedure that can be performed in the dental office using local anesthesia, ensuring minimal discomfort and a quick recovery for your child.

Comprehensive Approach

Pediatric dentists take a comprehensive approach to oral healthcare, considering the long-term effects of conditions like tongue-tie and lip-tie. By offering functional frenuloplasty, they address not only the immediate concerns but also aim to prevent potential complications.