The frenum is a piece of tissue that connects to the mouth in two places – the base of the tongue and beneath the upper lip. A frenectomy is a simple procedure that removes this connective tissue.
Dr. Jojo or Dr. Joe may recommend a frenectomy to:
- Correct a condition called ankyloglossia, also known as tongue-tie. This is when an unusually short or thick frenum connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This condition causes children to have difficulty with speech. If not corrected, children may continuously change the position of their jaw to make speaking easier, resulting in future dental issues and/or pain.
- Correct lip-tie: Lip-tie is caused by an excessively large or tight frenum between the upper gum and front teeth. Newborns may have trouble pursing their lips and may suck in air causing excessive gassiness. If not corrected, this condition can push the front teeth apart creating the need for orthodontic intervention.
Types of Frenectomies
Frenectomies are relatively routine procedures that can be done in our office:
- Maxillary frenectomy: Removal of tissue that connects the front teeth to the upper inside gums
- Lingual frenectomy: Removal of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the mouth floor
When should a frenectomy be done?
The sooner the better. Infants and younger toddlers heal more quickly than older children. Once the need is assessed by our dentists, an early frenectomy helps the child avoid long-term consequences.
Sometimes a frenectomy isn’t recommended until Dr. Jojo or Dr. Joe discover tooth or jaw displacement. In these cases, the frenum problem was not severe enough to cause a speech issue, but will need to be taken care of to prevent further tooth or jaw problems.
How is a frenectomy performed?
Frenectomies are relatively simple procedures done right in our office. We’ll use a soft-tissue laser to focus on and remove the offending tissue. There is minimal discomfort and very little bleeding. Healing time is typically short and without complication.
If a child is too young to sit for the procedure, general anesthesia may be considered.
Are there risks to frenectomy?
Risks are rare and few:
- Tongue numbness
- Temporary soreness
- Bleeding (small amount in most cases)
- Hematoma (collection of blood from broken blood vessel)
- Infection (rare)
- Development of scar tissue (rare)
Does my child’s pediatrician need to be involved?
No, other than informing them the procedure was done. Dentists are trained and certified to diagnose and treat frenum conditions.
Call us if you have concerns that your child may need a frenectomy. We’re happy to advise and treat if needed.