Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry

Post-Frenectomy Healing and After-Care

Post-Frenectomy Healing and After-Care

Reviewed by Dr. Henry Martinez, DMD

Reading time: Six minutes.

Welcome to the final installment of our comprehensive series on cheek, lip, and tongue ties. Throughout this blog series, we have covered the definition of cheek, lip, and tongue ties, their symptoms, and treatment options.

In our final post of the series, we’ll walk you through what to expect after a frenectomy and some essential steps to support a smooth recovery.

The Frenectomy Healing Process

Once the frenum has been released, the mouth will immediately begin to heal. Healing involves the formation of new tissue, which can take a couple of weeks. 

Throughout the healing process, you may notice some mild inflammation and discomfort. Your child might be irritable and their feeding or speech pattern might change.

Immediate After-Care

After the frenectomy, it is important to follow after-care instructions carefully. Here are some tips that can aid in the healing process:

  • When the procedure is finished, you will be asked to breastfeed your baby. The baby will be placed directly onto your skin for immediate contact. Once the baby is calm and ready, you can start breastfeeding. If the baby is bottle-fed, allow them to settle down first, then offer a bottle while they are semi-reclined.
  • Use a clean, cold compress to reduce swelling and provide relief. Do this for the first 24 hours as needed. Soft teething toys can also help soothe discomfort. You may also be advised to use over-the-counter pain medication in age-appropriate doses.
  • Make sure your child drinks a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and promote healing.
  • Provide extra cuddles and reassurance. Your child may be more clingy or fussy during the healing period. Additional skin-to-skin contact, snuggling, warm baths, and extended breastfeeding periods can significantly help with the healing process.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene by gently cleaning your child’s mouth after feeding without disturbing the healing tissue.

Please Note

Oral surgery may cause slight bleeding or oozing, but the use of a soft tissue laser will minimize it. If heavy bleeding occurs, seek medical attention. A “wet scab” may form at the surgery site and flake off when touched, which is normal. Infections are rare, but if you have concerns, contact your pediatric dentist.

Foods and Feeding Post-Frenectomy

  • Soft diet: Stick to soft, easy-to-swallow foods for a few days to avoid aggravating the healing tissues.
  • Frequent feedings: Small, frequent feedings are often more manageable for the child and can reduce the risk of further complications.
  • Breastfeeding support: Your lactation consultant or pediatric specialist can provide personalized feeding plans and support.

At-Home Oral Exercises and Stretching

If not manipulated, the body will naturally attempt to revert to its pre-frenectomy state by healing and reattaching. Specific exercises and stretches will make sure that the release is permanent. These exercises should be done gently but regularly to prevent the tissue from reattaching.

Performing these stretches either before or after feedings can be beneficial. If your baby sleeps for over four hours at night, you’ll need to wake them up to perform the stretches. Some babies might even sleep through them!

Tongue Lifts

  • Using your finger, gently lift the baby’s tongue up and forward towards the upper gum line.
  • Hold the stretch for five seconds before releasing.

Lip Stretches

  • Use your thumb and index finger to pull your baby’s upper lip towards the nose gently.
  • Hold for five seconds before releasing.

Cheek Stretches

  • Rub the cheeks where the procedure was performed after completing the other stretches.
  • Gently pull out your baby’s cheeks on either side of their mouth.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds before releasing.

Important Things To Remember

  • Perform these exercises at least six times daily to ensure the tissue does not reattach.
  • Keep an eye on any changes in feeding or speech patterns. Consult with your pediatric dentist if you notice anything concerning.
  • Be patient and gentle with your child during this time. Healing takes a little time, but you will soon see the results in improved feeding, speech, and overall comfort for your child.

Dental Follow-Ups

Most frenectomy procedures require a follow-up appointment within 2-3 weeks after the initial procedure. Your pediatric dentist will evaluate the healing process to make sure there are no complications or reattachment of the frenum.

Key Takeaways From Our Cheek, Lip, and Tongue Tie Series

As we wrap up our blog series at Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry, we wanted to review the specifics of cheek, lip, and tongue ties. Here’s a summary of the main points covered:

  • Lip Tie: This is when the upper lip’s frenum, located between the upper front teeth and gums, is too tight or short. The lip is restricted and can affect feeding, speech, and dental health.
  • Tongue Tie: A tongue tie is caused by an overly tight lingual frenulum, the cord of tissue attaching the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This can hinder the tongue’s mobility, making it difficult to breastfeed, swallow, pronounce certain sounds, and maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Cheek tie: A cheek tie, also known as a buccal tie, is a restrictive tissue connection in the cheeks that can impact oral functions and dental spacing.
  • Cheek, lip, and tongue tie symptoms: Symptoms of these ties can include:
    • Difficulty breastfeeding
    • Speech difficulties
    • Gap formation between teeth
    • Fussiness during feeds
    • Insufficient weight gain
  • Treatment options: The primary treatment option is a procedure known as a frenectomy. This minimally invasive surgery releases the tied frenulum to improve mobility and function. Other treatment options may include speech therapy, myofunctional therapy, or help from a lactation consultant.
  • Frenectomy aftercare: After a frenectomy, proper aftercare is important to ensure healing and to prevent reattachment. Aftercare includes discomfort management, gentle oral hygiene, dietary adjustments, and specific stretches and exercises to promote optimal recovery.

Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry: Your Top Choice for Frenectomy in Phoenix, AZ

Thank you for reading our blog series on cheek, lip, and tongue ties in children and infants. We hope this series has answered all of your questions about cheek, lip and tongue ties.

At Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry, we are committed to providing high-quality, compassionate care for all pediatric patients, including special needs patients. 

Our team of skilled professionals is committed to providing the best oral healthcare in a comfortable and positive environment. If you have any questions or concerns regarding frenectomies or your child’s oral health in general, we are here to help! If you are searching for a ‘frenectomy near me’ or a ‘kids dentist in Phoenix, AZ,’ contact us today to schedule an appointment with our friendly dentist, Dr. Martinez! Call (602) 935-7427 or complete the online booking form.