Reviewed by Dr. Benjamin Foley, DDS

In this fourth and final blog of our lip and tongue tie series, we will talk about frenectomy aftercare. The success of a frenectomy procedure depends not just on the skill of the oral surgeon but also on how well the patient follows the aftercare instructions.

This blog provides an in-depth look at how to care for yourself or your child post-procedure to ensure a smooth recovery.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

A frenectomy is a simple and safe procedure that can improve oral health and function for both adults and children. Proper post-operative care, including exercises and monitoring for signs of infection, can help ensure a smooth recovery. It’s essential to consult your oral surgeon with any concerns or questions throughout the healing process.

Frenectomy Aftercare Do’s and Don’ts

Following these do’s and don’ts will help reduce the risk of complications and ensure a quick recovery:

  • Do ice the area: Swelling is common after a frenectomy. Apply an ice pack or cold compress over the surgical site to help reduce swelling and pain.
  • Don’t skip meals: Maintain a healthy diet post-surgery to promote healing. Stick to soft, easily digestible foods for the first few days.
  • Do take prescribed medication: Your oral surgeon may prescribe painkillers or antibiotics after the procedure. Take them as directed to alleviate discomfort and prevent infection.
  • Don’t engage in strenuous activities: Give your body time to rest and heal. Avoid strenuous activities like exercise, heavy lifting, or playing sports for at least a week after the procedure.
  • Do practice good oral hygiene: It is very important to keep your mouth clean. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss once a day. Be careful around the surgical site.  
  • Don’t consume hot or spicy foods: These can irritate the surgical site and cause discomfort. Stick to lukewarm or cold foods for the first few days.

Post-Operative Care For Infants

Immediately after the procedure, you will be encouraged to be skin-to-skin with your baby to help soothe them post-surgery. Once they have calmed down, you can feed them in a semi-reclined position. This applies whether you breastfeed or bottle feed. The numbing takes 30-60 minutes to wear off, so your baby may get frustrated while feeding.

  • Keep an eye on feeding habits: Watch out for any changes in your baby’s feeding habits, such as difficulty latching or excessive drooling. These can be signs of discomfort and may require follow-up with the oral surgeon or pediatric dentist.
  • Don’t pull at the surgical site: If you notice a white or yellow membrane over the area, do not try to pull it off. This is a natural part of the healing process and will eventually dissolve on its own.
  • Continue your normal breastfeeding routine: If you are breastfeeding, continue to do so as usual. However, if your baby is bottle-fed, avoid using pacifiers or bottles with small nipples to prevent any strain on the surgical site.

Post-Operative Care For Young Children

Young children may experience more discomfort after the procedure and may require pain medication. Closely monitor their behavior and follow these tips:

  • Offer cold or frozen treats: Ice cream or popsicles can help reduce swelling and provide comfort.
  • Keep hands out of the mouth: Explain to your child that their hands have bad bacteria that can cause an infection in their mouth. 
  • Don’t use a straw for 24 hours: Drinking through a straw may disturb the blood clot and prolong healing time. 

Post-Operative Care For Adults

Adults may experience mild discomfort after the procedure, but it should subside within a few days. Follow these tips to ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers: If needed, you can take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to manage any discomfort.
  • Don’t smoke or drink alcohol: Smoking and drinking alcohol can hinder the healing process and increase the risk of complications. Avoid these for at least a week after the procedure.
  • Follow up with your surgeon: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments to monitor healing and ensure there are no complications.

Tongue and Lip-Tie Exercises

Rehabilitation exercises will encourage your tongue and lips to move freely after the procedure, reducing the risk of reattachment.

If you had a tongue tie release, perform these simple exercises:

  • Tongue stretches:  Stick your tongue out as far as possible and hold for ten seconds, then relax. Repeat ten times.
  • Tongue curls: Touch the tip of your tongue to the back of your front teeth and curl it upward, holding for ten seconds. Repeat ten times.

If you had a lip tie release, try these exercises:

  • Lip stretches: Stretch your lips out as far as possible and hold for ten seconds, then relax. Repeat ten times.
  • Lip movements: Move your lips in a circular motion, like you’re making an “O” shape. Repeat ten times.

Exercises For Infants and Children

After a frenectomy, infants require attentive care to ensure their mouths heal correctly and develop properly. 

  • Healing stimulation: Gently massage the surgery site with a clean finger dipped in coconut oil or breast milk. This should be done several times a day to promote healing and reduce the risk of excessive scar tissue forming.
  • Sucking training:  Help your baby to practice the sucking motion by pressing on the top with your finger to stimulate the natural sucking reflex.
  • Tongue mobility:  Encourage your child to stick out their tongue and move it from side to side. This will help strengthen the tongue muscles and improve mobility.
  • Lip movements:   Gently massage and stretch your child’s lips to maintain flexibility and reduce the risk of reattachment.
  • Oral motor exercises: If your child is old enough, you can introduce oral motor exercises such as blowing bubbles or whistling to improve muscle coordination and speech development.

Watch Out For Signs of Infection

Although it is rare, infections can occur after a frenectomy. Watch for any signs of infection, such as:

  • Fever: A low-grade fever may be common after the procedure, but if it persists or goes above 101.5°F (37.8°C), contact your oral surgeon.
  • Increased pain: Mild discomfort is normal after the procedure, but if the pain becomes severe or persistent, it could be a sign of infection.
  • Redness and swelling: Some redness and swelling are expected post-surgery. However, if it increases or persists for more than a week, consult your doctor.
  • Excessive bleeding: Some minor bleeding is normal, but if it continues for an extended period or is excessive, seek medical attention.

Following these post-operative care instructions will help ensure a smooth and comfortable recovery for you and your child. Remember to consult your oral surgeon if you have any concerns or questions. 

Foley & Le – Oral Surgeons Boulder, CO

At Foley & Le Oral Surgeons, we are dedicated to providing top-quality oral surgery care for all ages. Our experienced surgeons specialize in a wide range of procedures, including frenectomies for infants, children and adults.

We hope this blog series on lip and tongue ties has been informative and helpful.  If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call (303) 444-2255 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form.

If you are searching for an ‘oral surgeon near me,’ or ‘frenectomy near me,’ trust Foley & Le Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Other blogs in this series:

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