Lip and tongue-tie are treated with a procedure called a frenectomy. You may also hear this procedure referred to as a frenotomy or a frenulectomy. All three terms describe the same procedure. Dr. Prather has years of training and experience providing safe, effective frenectomies for patients of all ages. She is the only provider in middle Tennessee trained to use soft tissue lasers to perform the procedure resolving the full tie.
The Frenectomy Process
The goal of any frenectomy procedure is simple. We want to loosen the connective tissues in order to allow for the unimpeded movement of the lips, tongue, or other soft tissue. This is done by removing a small amount of tissue.
Traditionally, the excess frenum tissue was removed using surgical scissors. These tools make minute incisions in the soft tissue that allow for freer movement. While this traditional surgical method was effective, it could be very uncomfortable for the patient, and due to the heavy bleeding during the procedure, it was often difficult to be precise with the amount of removed oral tissue. Infants who underwent traditional frenectomy procedures would need to be placed under general anesthesia for their comfort and safety, and anesthesia brings its own health concerns for your child.
Unlike traditional frenectomies, laser frenectomy procedures allow us to be much more precise with the amount of tissue that is removed. Additionally, patients are much more comfortable, and in most cases, patients only need topical anesthetic. That means your child will not need to be unconscious during treatment in a hospital setting. Dr. Paige has advanced training in the use of a variety of different lasers, and she can incorporate them as necessary to make the frenectomy faster and more comfortable. Each laser works best on specific types of pigmentation. The goal will be to use the laser that is able to produce the greatest effect on the frenum with the lowest power setting. This will ensure maximum comfort and efficacy. In addition to being more comfortable, lasers also instantly cauterize the treated tissues, so there’s very little bleeding during the procedure and healing time following treatment is significantly reduced.
Advanced Technology for Precision Care
In addition to our array of state-of-the-art soft tissue lasers, Dr. Prather also uses special magnification loupes and an LED headlamp. This combined tool allows her to more clearly see into your child’s mouth and ensure safe and effective treatments. We will also use our MouthWatchers intraoral camera to capture before and after images. These photos are an essential tool to monitor healing throughout the course of treatment. They are also an important communication tool between Dr. Prather and any referring doctors or lactation support, so all of your healthcare providers are on the same page.
Why Choose Dr. Prather
Dr. Prather has trained with some of the leading doctors in the field, such as Dr. Ghaheri, Dr. Kaplan, Dr. Kotlow and the late Dr. Fred Margolis. She also spends countless hours each year tackling advanced courses to give you the best care available. Some of the courses she’s proud of include:
- Pediatric Sedation Course by American Dental Society of Anesthesiology
- Certification in laser-assisted dentistry (WCLI)
- Tufts Pediatric Laser Lip & Tongue-Tie Course
- Academy of Oral Myofunctional Therapy (AOMT)
- Dr. Zhaghi Functional Frenuloplasty Course
- International Affiliation of Tongue-Tie Professionals Summit
- Cranial Nerve Dysfunction Course
- TummyTime!™ Method Certification
- Advanced Light Force Appliance Provider (to help with oral structure development and tongue posture)
- SOS 4 TOTS Course by Dr. Larry Kotlow
Dr. Prather is also involved in the following professional organizations:
- The American Dental Society of Anesthesiology
- The International Association for Lip and Tongue Tie Providers
- The International Consortium for Oral Ankylofrenulum Providers
- The American Academy of Physiological Medicine & Dentistry
- The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health