If you are like most parents, you want everything to go well for your little one. Still, little unexpected problems may occur.
Some babies are born with a short frenulum. The frenulum is the small bit of tissue on the underside of your little one's tongue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If it is not long enough, it can be snipped in a short, painless procedure called a frenectomy. During a frenectomy, the dentist or pediatrician uses medical scissors to quickly cut the restrictive piece of tissue to free the tongue.
Most people rarely think about the frenulum, but it can cause problems with a child's development. Here are a few issues that may occur if a short frenulum does not resolve on its own and is left untreated.
In order to speak clearly, the tongue must be free enough to move about as words are enunciated. If the tongue is held too closely to the lower palate floor, it may not be able to form words correctly.
If a frenulum problem developed after adulthood, the speech of the person would already be established. Thus, a corrective procedure would simply restore the proper pronunciation that was disturbed by the frenectomy disorder.
However, in small children, when a frenulum issue occurs, speech patterns are not already established. They are developing. This means that the child may not learn to form words properly and may require speech therapy if a frenectomy is delayed. As a result, it is best to have a short frenulum treated before a child begins to speak.
A short frenulum can cause feeding issues for infants. The tongue should curve around a nipple as a baby feeds. This is especially important for children who are breastfed. If a continual seal is not formed between the breast and the child's mouth, the baby may not ingest the amount of milk needed for proper nourishment.
In order to grow and develop as he or she should, a baby must receive an adequate amount of nutrition. The best food for a growing infant is usually the mother's milk. For a child with a short frenulum, even the consumption of expressed breast milk through a bottle may be difficult.
If your child has a short frenulum, consider scheduling an appointment for a frenectomy as soon as possible. The procedure is not uncomfortable for a child, and its benefits are substantial.