Patient Education

Having Frenectomy Surgery

Having Frenectomy Surgery

A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that removes or alters a frenum, which is a small fold of tissue or muscle. This small fold’s purpose in the body is to keep the organ it is attached to from moving too far. As regards your mouth, two frenums may cause orthodontic and speech problems. One is located in the middle of the upper lip, called the labial frenum. The other is the small fold under the tongue, called the lingual frenum. In these cases, the frenum may too short, too thick, or too tight. It may interfere with proper alignment of the teeth or it may restrict movement of the tongue.

A Labial Frenectomy

The labial frenum is attached to the upper lip between your two front teeth. A labial frenectomy may be necessary in patients after orthodontic treatment because the frenum pushes the teeth apart after they have been properly aligned by wearing braces. In other cases, the labial frenum may need to be removed prior to orthodontic treatment because too much space exists between upper teeth before the eyeteeth have erupted. Removing or altering the frenum allows the teeth to move together instead of preventing them from doing so. A labial frenectomy may also be called for in the case of patients who wear dentures. Too large of a labial frenum can cause dentures to loosen. The fit and operation of the dentures can be enhanced through a frenectomy for these patients.  

A Lingual Frenectomy

When the frenum that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too short, it can restrict normal motion of the tip of the tongue. In some cases, the frenum can attach all the way to the tip of the tongue. This is called a prominent lingual frenum, sometimes resulting in the condition of ankyloglossia, meaning tongue-tied. As a congenital anomaly in some people, it can result in speech problems, affect eating and oral hygiene, and lead to bite deformities. After a lingual frenectomy, the patient can often extend the tongue well beyond what was possible before the procedure. This relieves patients of any problems associated with the condition and helps bring about better development in the structure of the mouth.

Frenectomy Surgical Procedure

A frenectomy is a short and simple surgical procedure in which the frenum is excised. This can be done with a scalpel or with a laser. It generally takes about fifteen minutes while the patient is under local anesthesia or with intravenous sedation. The procedure is generally recommended only when the frenum in question is causing problems such as pain, interruption of normal functions, interruption of orthodontic treatment or dentures, or in children who have problems eating, swallowing, or talking.