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Frenulectomy Home Care Instructions

(757) 668-7000

The lingual frenulum is a piece of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. In some children, the frenulum is too tight.  This may affect their speech or eating.  In newborns, a tight frenulum may interfere with breastfeeding and cause discomfort for the mother. The frenulectomy releases a portion of this connection and will allow the tongue to move more freely. A frenulectomy (or frenulotomy or frenotomy) can make eating and speaking easier for a child with tongue-tie. Most children recover from these operations quickly and without any problems.

If the procedure is done in the office, the doctor will “clip” the frenulum releasing the tongue after using a local anesthetic. The surgery will only take a few minutes. Your doctor will decide whether it should be done in the office or in the operating room under general anesthesia.

The maxillary frenulum is a piece of tissue that connects the upper lip with the upper jaw above the front teeth. In some children it separates the two front teeth (the incisors) and in newborns can occasionally interfere with breastfeeding. This may also affect the way that the permanent teeth come in. A maxillary frenulectomy releases a portion of this connection and allows a more normal eruption of the permanent (adult) teeth.

What to expect after the procedure:

You may notice some bloody drainage from your child’s mouth.

Your child may have some sutures (stitches) under his tongue if he had a lingual frenulectomy. These will dissolve on their own. No stitches are used when the procedure is done in the office or when the maxillary frenulum is released.

When the procedure is done in the operating room, parents are invited to the Post Anesthesia Unit (PACU) shortly after the surgery. If your child received general anesthesia, he/she may have a red or flushed look to his/her face and chest 1-2 hours after surgery. This blotchy, red color is a normal response to the medicine given during surgery.

Most children will be briefly fussy after a frenulectomy. Taking liquids may soothe your child, but it may be uncomfortable at first. After the first hour your child will feel much better.  A non-aspirin pain reliever may be given if needed.

A slight fever is normal after surgery. Do not take your child’s temperature by mouth until the stitches have dissolved.

When to call the doctor:

  • Your child is having difficulty swallowing and has excessive drooling.
  • Your child has a lot of bleeding from the mouth. A small amount of oozing is normal.
  • Your child has severe swelling under the tongue or chin. A small amount of swelling is normal.
  • Your child’s rectal temperature is greater than 101.50 F.
  • Your child has a croupy (barky) cough, cry or wheeze.
  • Your child vomits for more than 6 hours or if vomiting is severe.  Your child’s nurse will discuss this with you before you go home.
  • Your child has signs of dehydration.  A child can become dehydrated when he or she has prolonged or severe vomiting and is not able to drink enough to keep up with the loss of fluids.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sunken look around eyes
  • No tears with crying
  • Decreased amount of urine, which would mean fewer wet diapers for an infant

REMEMBER: Please call if you have any questions. Use the phone number your child’s nurse gives you.

PHONE NUMBER:________________________________________________

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 11/2018

(757) 668-7000