Tongue & Lip Ties |3 min read

How Dr. Peterson’s personal experience led him to a passion for infant frenectomies

By now you’ve probably heard the news:  Dr. Peterson now offers infant frenectomies to patients with a tongue and/or lip tie using the Solea Laser!  As discussed in the article below (link at the bottom of the page) written by the Times Villager, Dr. Peterson’s journey to providing frenectomies began when his daughter, Audrey, was diagnosed with a tongue and lip tie when she was just 4 weeks old.

Discovering your infant has a tongue and/or lip tie can be overwhelming!  Between 4% and 10% of children are born with some degree of frenulum restriction, (also known as tongue-tie or lip-tie) meaning their tongues and lips are attached to the mouth with excessive connective tissue webbing. This excess tissue impedes the movement of the tongue or lips to various degrees, and can cause anything from moderate inconveniences (e.g. inability to lick your ice cream cone), to more severe impairments (such as inability to nurse during infancy, or significant speech impediments later in life).

When this restricted mobility interferes with nursing, bottle feeding, or causes discomfort to mother or child, a laser frenectomy may be recommended for infants.

For children, adolescents, and adults who do not undergo frenectomy in infancy, later complications may include: impaired oral hygiene, cavities, difficulty brushing and flossing, orthodontic/spacing issues (gapping and tipping of teeth), as well as significant speech impediments and resultant issues with self-esteem.

Symptoms and indications of tongue or lip ties:

Infant symptoms: Weight loss or slow weight gain, frequent feedings (2 hours apart or less), shallow latch on the breast or bottle, clicking and popping sounds during nursing, significant reflux or gassy tummy, the presence of a sucking callus on the lip, or becoming fatigued quickly during feedings.

Mother symptoms: Painful breastfeeding, breast still full of milk at the conclusion of feeding, mastitis or thrush infection, or nipple trauma (such as cracking, bleeding, bruising, creasing or flattening).

What is laser frenectomy?

Laser surgery to remove excess tissue in the mouth for infants, children, teens or adults.

Simply put, a laser frenectomy is the use of an all-tissue, hand-held laser to detach the frenulum (connective tissue webbing) from the upper lip or tongue by a trained dentist.

Conventional frenectomies consist of cutting the frenulum with a scalpel or a pair of surgical scissors. The problem, or limitation, with the conventional frenectomy is that these older instruments can cause a great deal of bleeding and consequently, these treatments tend to not be as thorough, leaving the connective tissue still partially intact for fear of causing a scary bleeding episode. Sometimes it’s not enough to solve the problem.

Why should I choose laser?

The results of modern laser frenectomy are excellent. The Solea laser provides various benefits over scissors or scalpel, including the following:

  • Cauterization: Virtually no bleeding, even in cases with thick tissue ties.
  • Sterilization: The laser kills bacteria and other microbes, making infection virtually impossible.
  • Precise: The laser beam is small and easily guided where needed and nowhere else, unlike clunky scissors.
  • Thorough: With bleeding under control, the laser can go as far as needed to eliminate 100% of the restriction.


If you feel that your infant may have a tongue or lip tie, please call De Pere Smiles (920-336-6594) today to discuss what your options and next steps would be!  The staff at De Pere Smiles is more than happy to help you!

Click here to learn more about why Dr. Peterson decided to receive specialized training in order to provide infant frenectomies! (Article published by: The Times Villager) 

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