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North Vancouver, B.C. V7J 0A2,
Phone: 604-986-1232
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Laser Frenectomy

Frenectomies, or upper lip and tongue ties revisions as they are commonly called, are procedures that are often done on newborns,toddlers or children who have lips and tongues that are held too tightly by their frenum. These ligaments that attaches the lips and the tongue to your gum and jaw bone can be too tight and limit movement of these parts of your mouth. Revising these tight attachments early in life can prevent many problems including difficulty with latching on for breast feeding, inability to clean the mouth with your tongue, speech issues, gaps between teeth, gum recession and other issues.

Dr. Glenn van As is a laser pioneer who has extensive experience to perform laser frenectomies on for anyone who suffers from tongue and lip ties. Dr van As has trained with pioneers in this field like Dr. Larry Kotlow to gain the necessary experience to provide treatment that is quick, kind and complete. Revisions to the lip and tongue ties with the lasers allows for greater mobility of the lip and tongue with less side effects than other commonly used techniques ( scissors). Lip and tongue tie revisions are quick with the laser, often taking 1-2 mins each to do. A little bit of topical anesthetic and a small amount of local anesthetic ensure minimal discomfort during the procedure, and stretching exercises in the following 3 weeks during the day ensure that the lip and tongue tie when they attach will not reattach in the original position. Dr.van As does all his frenectomies through a dental operating microscope that magnifies the area he is working on up to 20 X and this ensures that the frenectomy is completely revised at the initial appointment decreasing the risk of future retreatments being necessary.

Tongue Ties

Your tongue needs to be able to move around freely in the mouth which allows it to clean the teeth, swallow ideally, and move properly for speech. The tongue should move around freely and for new borns this mobility is vital for swallowing to create and effective latch for breast feeding. Infants swallow with their jaws parted and the tongue positioned between gum pads. This produces a vacuum for swallowing called the “infantile swallow.”infantile swallow

Although the primary or baby teeth all are forming in the jaws in uteror, it is not until the ages of 2-3 that they all have erupted and at this time the infant swallow becomes and adult swallow. The tongue will now raise and press against the back of the upper teeth and the jaws will close together.

A “tight “ tongue tie will restrict movement of the tongue and this can cause a lot of developmental issues for children such as some or all of the following:

Tongue ties can result in some of the following problems:

  • Inability to latch resulting in difficult breastfeeding, low weight gain and malnourishment.
  • Constant feeding due to inability to gain sufficient milk during feeding.
  • Nipple pain, cracks and blisters for mothers as the infant gums or chews nipples.
  • Reflux, colic or gassiness from swallowing air during feeding.
  • Choking on milk, excessive drooling or clicking noises are potential signs of a tongue or lip tie.
  • Abnormal swallowing patterns- Orthodontic problems occur such as an open bite and crowded teeth
  • Impaired speech- Certain sounds such as S, T, N and D require the tongue to elevate to the back of the upper front teeth. Try speaking with your tongue in the floor of your mouth...its not easy.
  • Dental decay - on function of the tongue is to clean the teeth sweeping around them. A tongue tie can limit this ability to clean the mouth resulting in food trapping on teeth and dental decay.

dental decay

  •  Poor self-esteem – When communication is hindered due to being tongue tied, children tend to be shy to speak, leading to low self-esteem.
  • Insufficient facial development- An open bite can develop, where the front teeth do not touch when the child their mouth. An open bite can make it difficult to bite into things like bread and apples, and can lead to esthetic and speech issues.

 Lip Ties

A lip tie occurs when the ligament connecting the lip and the gums is restricted due to its length being too short, the position of attachment being at the crest instead of half way up, or the lip tie having too much width which again can limit movement of the lip. This can occur on the upper or lower lip as well as on the sides of the mouth, but is most common and most problematic when it occurs in the middle of the upper lip.

A tight lip tie can have negative effects for both the baby and the mother, during breast feeding by reducing the ability of the newborn to latch properly onto the breast.

Lip ties can be detected in newborn babies and can result in some of the following issues for the baby:

  • Reflux, colic, gassiness due to swallowing air.
  • A clicking sound while feeding along with grinding and biting on the breast.
  • Choking on milk, popping off breast to gasp for air.
  • Poor weight gain.
  • Recurrent breaks in feeding, short feedings and frequent feedings.
  • Stools that are green or yellow which indicate that the child may not be able to latch long enough to get to the “fatty” part of the milk.
  • Slow weight gain or inability to gain weight
  • Incapable of opening his or her mouth widely and latching onto the breast

Dr. van As works with experts in the field including Chiropractors familiar with Craniosacral Treatment for your newborn. He and his team have completed hundreds of laser frenectomies and he travels extensively lecturing on the use of lasers in dentistry where he has been acknowledged as one of the top 100 dentists for continuing education by Dentistry Today for four consecutive years from 2011-2014.


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