In October, my son had a double frenectomy. If you haven’t heard of that, join the club. I had never heard of a frenectomy until last June when my son’s dentist referred him to an orthodontist.
Jase doesn’t need braces (yet) but his dentist felt it would be good to make an appointment and let her get a base line of his mouth. When we went to that appointment in June, the orthodontist took x-rays and measurements. One thing she noted is that the frenum under his tongue was tight. This didn’t allow his tongue to lie properly in his mouth (when not talking or eating your tongue should touch the roof of your mouth).
She said this tightness could cause problems with his speech (he has had speech therapy before) as well as the development of his mouth and jaw. She referred us to Mira, a therapist who specializes in Oral and Facial Muscle Dysfunction for evaluation.
Mira worked with Jase to see if they could stretch the tissue under his tongue and give him the range of motion that he should have. But it wasn’t enough, so she referred us to a periodontist, who evaluated Jase and agreed he should have a lingual frenectomy to release his tongue. She also said the tissue from the upper lip to his gum was tight which might be what was causing the space between his front teeth and might contribute to his open mouth breathing. This procedure for the top is a labial frenectomy. She recommended correcting them both at the same time.
This is done by a surgical procedure in which she uses a laser to cut the band of tissue to relieve the tightness. Even though this is a very common procedure, the words surgery and laser worried Jase. Now while the procedure can be done under a local anesthetic, we opted to have a stronger medicine to relax him.
It worked. He took the liquid medicine while sitting on a couch in the waiting room. He swears only five minutes passed when I was telling him that as soon as he felt better we could go home. But instead of five minutes, it had been more like an hour since he took the medicine. Though he says he remembers nothing, he was aware during the procedure though his speech was slurred. It took her no time to use her laser and do both procedures. It took longer for the medicine to wear off.
Once it did, we headed to Mira’s office. To ensure that the tongue remained free and didn’t reattach, there was a list of exercises she wanted him to do over the weekend. Already nauseous from the medicine, Jase hated those exercises the first day. But he did them.
And he continues to do new exercises to help train his tongue to rest in the place it should and to encourage his tongue to use its newfound mobility. Jase says his tongue feels freer. Mira also has noticed subtle changes in his face already. These professionals said this would benefit him but I think it is one of those things that could go either way. Did he have to have this done? Probably not but hopefully now that we have done it, we will see some benefits. Only time will tell.