Laser Tongue-Tie Procedure for Babies and Young Children

When studying your new baby’s face, do you notice a narrow piece of tissue that connects the tip of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth?  This is a sign of a highly-treatable condition known as tongue-tie.

The good news is that our pediatric dental team can easily correct the problem through a painless laser procedure. Here’s what you need to know about this laser tongue-tie procedure for babies and young children.

What Does Tongue-Tie Mean?

Tongue-tie refers to a condition called ankyloglossia that develops within the womb. It basically means that the child has an overly short or thick frenulum that restricts the tongue’s movement. What is a frenulum? As noted at the outset, it’s a small band of tissue that connects the floor of the mouth to the bottom of the tongue. A laser tongue-tie procedure called a frenectomy is performed to remove or clip that band of tissue.

Is the Procedure Necessary?

Being tongue-tied means a child cannot freely move their tongue. As a result, their speech is affected, causing a condition known as ankyloglossia. Not correcting a tongue-tie can result in speech difficulties, nursing (breastfeeding) disruption, and receding gums, leading to periodontal problems. In addition, tongue-tie can compromise a child’s dental and jaw development, creating overall health issues. Parents whose children undergo the laser tongue-tie procedure often see tremendous improvement in their child’s breathing, chewing, swallowing, and digestion.

What to Expect

Because the laser thoroughly sterilizes the affected area, the chance of infection is extremely low. This technique also promotes healing through bio-regeneration. Although we use a laser for cutting through the connective tissue, the laser technology ensures there’s minimal bleeding and pain. Once the cut is made, your child’s tongue is freed so that it’s no longer tied to the bottom of the mouth. The procedure only takes a few minutes. For most babies, there’s only a small amount of swelling.


We understand you want your child to be as comfortable as possible. Simple things like holding them and bringing their favorite stuffed animal or toy are all that’s needed. Since this is an outpatient procedure, you can take your child home immediately following the surgery. However, they will need to rest and not go back to daycare or preschool for the remainder of the day. After the laser procedure, softly stretch the lips and tongue of your child to prevent the frenulum from reattaching. Your pediatric orthodontist will provide specific instructions on how to do this, as well as answer any questions you have.

Other Considerations

  • Usually, general anesthesia or sedation isn’t needed for the procedure. All that’s required is a local anesthetic.
  • The soft tissue in the area in which the tongue tie was released should have a light yellowish or white color. Once the tissue heals, it should resume its normal pinkish color.
  • Your baby may not be that cooperative when doing the stretching exercises. The best way to perform them is to place your child on their back with the feet facing away.

Schedule a Consultation

The PureSmile office in Shanghai has state-of-the-art equipment, including a dentsply dental diode laser machine. To schedule a consultation with our pediatric dentist, Dr. Rana, contact us.