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Frenectomy

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A frenectomy can improve more than your smile.

Did you know that a frenectomy can actually impact your overall health?  Research has shown this simple procedure may improve several issues in both children and adults, including:

speech

digestive

airway

periodontal

orthodontic spacing

At whole dental wellness, we will work with you to optimize both your oral and whole body health.  Because they are intimately connected.  If you have a concern about a frenum you think may not be right, call and schedule a consultation with our specialist periodontist today!

What is a frenectomy?

A frenectomy is simply the removal, or repositioning of a frenum.  A frenum is a muscular attachment between two tissues that prevents tissues from moving too far.  There are three frena within your mouth that may obstruct function, cause recession, or prohibit your orthodontist from completing your recommended orthodontic therapy. These frena are called the maxillary labial frenum (which connects the inside of your upper lip to your gums just above your upper two front teeth), mandibular labial frenum (which connects the inside of your lower lip to your gums just below your lower two front teeth), and the lingual frenum (which connects your tongue to the floor of the mouth).  The removal of the frenulum does not cause any adverse effects to the lip and mouth, nor changes in your appearance.

Maxillary Labial Frenectomy (upper lip)

A prominent maxillary labial frenum may cause a large gap to occur between the upper two front teeth. Sometimes the frenum may cause pain on the upper lip and gums or prevent your orthodontist from closing this gap with braces.  It can also create an “open mouth posture” by limiting the movement of the upper lip, preventing the mouth from properly sealing.  This leads to open mouth breathing, which in children impairs the development of nose breathing and negatively impacts proper airway and jaw development.  It can also cause gum recession.

Additionally, a frenectomy may improve an infant’s ability to nurse or bottle-feed.  If you are concerned about your baby’s ability to feed, please seek evaluation from your child’s pediatrican and lactation consultant to evaluate whether or not your child would benefit from this procedure.

Mandibular Labial Frenectomy (lower lip)

A prominent or malpositioned mandibular frenum may cause the gum tissue on the lower two front teeth to become inflamed, resulting in periodontal issues and gum recession.  If this frenum is located too high, it may also inhibit the proper seating of dentures, leading to chronic soreness and irritation.

Lingual Frenectomy (tongue-tie)

The lingual frenum is the tight tissue underneath the tongue that tethers the tongue in its resting position.  If it is too tight or short, it restrains the tongue too low.  This is commonly referred to as being “tongue-tied.” In young children, this condition may hinder correct growth of the jaw and cause long-term orthodontic problems, speech impediments (mainly lisping), and possibly airway issues.

Does a frenectomy hurt?

A frenectomy is a simple procedure where, after numbed, a small incision is made that frees the frenal attachment.  Dissolving stitches will be placed to help the tissue heal. This area will be tender for 4-5 days but should not prevent you or your child from partaking in any school or work related activities.  Following a lingual frenectomy, it may be sore to talk for a few days, but this will quickly resolve as the area continues to heal.