A frenotomy is a procedure that cuts the lingual frenulum. Pediatricians and dentists recommend this treatment sometimes when a baby is tongue-tied. When a child is tongue-tied, they have a short or tight frenulum, which is the tiny piece of skin that connects the bottom jaw to the lower lip.
When a baby has a frenulum that is tight or short, he or she won’t be able to nurse or breastfeed properly.
During a frenotomy, the tongue is held up towards the roof of the mouth. This action makes the frenulum taught and thin. Dr. Cohen then cuts with a specialized laser that releases the tongue and makes it easier for the baby to breastfeed or nurse. The tiny cut only takes a second or two, and usually takes one fast motion on the doctor’s part. Little to no bleeding occurs because blood vessels are cauterized during the process of cutting the skin. The cut may be performed using a unique frenotomy kit, or it can be done using sterile scissors from a suture removal kit.
The baby’s tongue moves much more freely immediately after the procedure is completed. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding should be much easier for the baby when the tongue is no longer tied.