Our periodontist commonly performs frenectomies on patients of a variety of ages, and this minor surgical procedure alters the oral structure for the better. The frenum is connective tissue in the mouth that has three main categories.
These include the buccal frenum connecting the gum tissue to the inside of the cheeks while the labial frenums (two of them) connect the upper lip to the gums as the other one connects the lower lip to the gums. The lingual frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
Removing the frenulum does not result in loss of function as this connective tissue has no major purpose. If the frenum interferes with normal oral function, removing it can make a big difference! With a frenectomy, our doctor removes one (or more) of the frenums. The procedure may take only ten minutes to perform using a local anesthetic. Oral stitches may be used to encourage timely healing, and most generally dissolve on their own.
Frenectomies can treat the following:
- Ankyloglossia: Here the lingual frenum is so tight in infants that it prevents proper feeding and early speech development. It can also cause a condition called being “tongue-tied.”
- Gum Tension: A labial frenum that develops too low often pulls the gum tissue from the nearby teeth (gum recession), affecting their proper structure and function. If the labial frenum passes between the two front teeth, this can keep them from correctly closing.
- Between Teeth: A labial frenum erupts between two teeth, preventing the proper eruption of adult teeth.
- Fit Interference: This occurs when a frenum develops in an incorrect location and interferes with an oral appliance fitting correctly, such as dentures, bridges or braces.
Frenectomies are typically performed with a scalpel or laser, and when done on a younger child with gapped teeth, the gap may close on its own. In the case of adults or younger children, braces may be recommended to close the gap.
Following surgery, there is typically little discomfort and swelling. Patients sometimes compare this healing time to the time needed to recover from “pizza mouth,” which happens when you eat steaming hot slices. To boost healing, our doctor may advise swishing an oral rinse in your mouth to destroy germs. Follow-up appointments may be scheduled to monitor proper healing.
You may be amazed how such a simple surgical procedure can have such a huge impact on your smile! To learn more, we welcome you to give our skilled team a call today to schedule a consultation.