A frenectomy is simply the surgical removal of a frenum or frenulum. A frenum is a naturally occurring soft tissue attachment or webbing, normally seen between the front teeth (either upper or lower), as well as under the tongue, and other places in the body. They are thin and intended to restrict the range of motion of some parts of the body. In the mouth, they connect the inner aspect of the lips with the gums, and the underside of the tongue with the lower gums. A lack of attached or keratinized gingiva, in conjunction with a high (closer to the biting surface) frenum attachment, can result in gum recession. Additionally, an excessively large or muscular frenum can prevent the teeth from coming together resulting in a gap between the front teeth. When braces are planned or started, the removal of an abnormal frenum, can increase long-term stability and improve success of the final orthodontic results.
You may have also heard the phrase, “tongue tied” used to describe someone who is having a hard time finding the correct word. Few people realize that a tongue-tie is a real medical condition where an abnormal lingual frenum can prevent a patient’s tongue from being able to achieve a normal range of motion resulting in speech impediments. In infants, very prominent lingual frena can interfere with breastfeeding.
To remove a frenum, most often the area is numbed with a local anesthetic. Labial (lip) and lingual (tongue) frena can be removed through a variety of means and approaches, depending on the location and size of the frena, as well as the age of the patient.
Following the surgery, the area heals quite rapidly and there is usually minimal to no pain. To learn more about labial and lingual frenectomies, please call Dr. Biggerstaff or Dr. Parker today to schedule a consultation. Our Kernersville office may be reached at 336-992-2123 and our Bermuda Run/ Advance Office may be reached at 336-998-3300.