Lip & Tongue-Tie Patient Aftercare – Phillipsburg, NJ
What to Expect After a Frenectomy
Immediately following a frenectomy, your baby can breastfeed, bottle-feed, or use a pacifier. It may take about 3-4 weeks after the procedure for your baby’s mouth to adjust, so you will likely not see improvements in breastfeeding right away. This is normal, as your child is relearning how to use their tongue and lips. To help speed up this process, we recommend visiting a lactation specialist 5-7 days following a frenectomy.
Your baby’s mouth will heal quickly, but it’s important to do stretches and exercises to prevent the tissues from bonding back together. These stretches are quick, easy, painless, and will go along way in speeding up your child’s recovery. Before doing them, make sure that your hands and fingernails are clean. The stretches detailed below are meant to be gentle and brief. Going too long or using them too often will not only be uncomfortable for your child, but it may also slow down the healing process. You should begin doing these stretches the same night as the surgery. They should be performed again the next morning, and then you should NOT do them again the night of the second day. After that, you should complete the stretches every night for at least 21 days to see optimum results.
Lift the lip as high as it will go and gently run your finger from right to left across the surgical site, holding it up for 5 seconds. Repeat this every 3-4 hours for 21 days if there is scar tissue. Gentle massage should be continued from day 21-28, at least 3 times a day to break up any remaining scar tissue. You will know if this is necessary if you feel a knot in the location of the surgical site. Around day 21-28, the massages do not need to be done through the night, so no more waking your baby!
Lift the tongue as high as it will go and gently press backwards on the surgical site as you swipe your finger vertically, almost like it is a rolling pin. Repeat this exercise approximately 3 times while staying under the tongue for about 10 seconds. This routine should be performed for about 21 days. Soft massages should be continued as mentioned above if any scar tissue remains.
Dr. Garcia-DeMartino does everything she can to make the frenectomy procedure as comfortable as possible, but every baby behaves differently afterward. Parents should be prepared for extra fussiness or even a nursing strike, but this should abate after a few days, once any minor soreness goes away. It is recommended that you have baby pain medication on hand and be prepared with supplemental bottles.
Some Things You Can Try to Calm Your Little One
- A soothing lavender bath or nursing in a bath
- Let your child suck on a clean finger. You can chill it with ice beforehand so it soothes any pain.
- Extra playtime
- Extra skin-to-skin contact.
Of course, babies will be babies, so your child may still cry and fuss despite using all these methods. This is perfectly normal, and we advise that each parent switch off soothing a grumpy baby so neither one becomes too overwhelmed.
Aftercare for Adult Patients
Adults should perform the above stretches following their treatment to facilitate the healing process, and thankfully, a patient can do it themselves. Tylenol or Advil can help manage any lingering soreness. A patient should be fully recovered after about 3 weeks, but if the pain continues past this point, or if they develop a fever or excess swelling, they should contact our specialty dental office right away.