Tongue Release (Frenuloplasty)

Ankyloglossia tongue tie patient

Ankyloglossia or “tongue tie” is a condition of altered tongue mobility due to restrictive tissues at the midline between the undersurface of the tongue and the floor of the mouth. A short lingual frenum or “attachment” is correlated with underdeveloped maxillary (upper jaw) width and is a risk factor for both pediatric and adult obstructive sleep apnea.

Above, are three of our pediatric patients (ages 4-7 years old) who presented with severe restrictions leading to speech, swallowing and breathing problems. Our myofunctional therapist Keisha Nolan, worked with these patients for 4-6 weeks prior to the tongue release with Dr. Anderson and followed up with exercises to teach the tongue how to function post release.  As they continue to grow into adults, their tongue will now be able to guide the growth of their facial bones and minimize problems associated with “tongue ties”.

Dr. Anderson and Mrs. Nolan work together to correct the form and function of the tongue to reach the best results. If you or your family has problems with speech, swallowing, snoring or has breathing problems, Dr. Anderson can diagnose and guide you through corrective treatment.

What is a Frenectomy?


A “frenum” is a small muscle attachment found on the upper lip, lower lip or under the tongue. For some, the frenum is attached in a location which can lead to developmental and functional problems. A “frenectomy” involves moving this muscle attachment with a dental laser (ER:YSGG Waterlase) to a more anatomical location during a 20-40 second procedure. In Dr. Andersons practice, she uses the laser as a gentle and non-invasive method to remove the frenum without bleeding or discomfort compared to traditional blade frenectomy techniques. Please see below for specifics regarding frenectomy of the tongue, upper and lower lip.

An initial oral examination is recommended at birth to identify and treat constricted tongue anatomy known as a “tongue tie”. A constricted tongue may prevent normal swallowing and breathing patterns as the child grows along and is correlated with complications with “latching” during breastfeeding.

Upper Lip

The muscle attachment of the upper lip can be located coronally or “low” which may prevent the front two teeth to touch together, causing a space. An upper lip tie can also affect craniofacial development in severe cases. Typically, the frenum is removed in conjunction with braces to close the gap. If not removed, the frenum may cause the gap to reopen.

Lower Lip

Gum recession can be caused by a frenum pull when the attachment is located too high. In most cases, the frenum can be moved down to stop further progression of the recession or mucogingival defect. Early diagnosis and treatment is highlighted as a preventative protocol in periodontics.

Dr. Andersons 10 year old patient (pictured above) presented to Anderson Periodontal Wellness for a same day consultation and laser frenectomy of the upper lip. See above for before and immediately (1minute) after the frenectomy. This 20 second laser procedure does not usually require traditional anesthetic “numbing shorts” but rather topical anesthetic “numbing jelly” prior to laser use. “CC” tolerated the frenectomy very well and her parents reported no bleeding, pain or change in activity after the procedure!

As a diplomate and board certified periodontist, Dr. Lauren Anderson provides services involving dental implants, periodontics, tooth loss, implantology, crown lengthening, cosmetic dentistry, and plastic surgery in Birmingham, Troy, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Troy, Ferndale, Royal Oak, and surrounding Oakland County, Michigan. To schedule your consult please call (248) 480-4910