Frenectomy An Overview
A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that aims to remove frenum, or frenulum, from the mouth. A periodontist may recommend a frenectomy if it is causing issues for your dental health, or if it impacts the way you speak and chew.
The most common reason for a frenectomy is to correct tongue tie. Tongue tie occurs when the frenum connects the tongue to the base of the mouth. A connected frenum can affect a patient’s ability to eat, speak and swallow and is most commonly diagnosed in babies and toddlers. The primary frenum in the mouth are as follows:
- Labial frenum: The connective tissue that attaches the lips and gums. It is located above the top two front teeth and the bottom two front teeth. When the labial frenum is dysfunctional, patients can experience gapped teeth or other complications.
- Lingual frenum: The connective tissue between the tongue and the floor of the mouth. When the lingual frenum is dysfunctional, patients can experience ‘tongue ties’.
When Is A Frenectomy Needed?
When the labial frenum is abnormal, there is an increased risk for orthodontic problems. If the frenum grows too far past the gum line, it can disrupt the growth and affect the spacing of the upper two front teeth. This can result in a gap between the two front teeth. In most cases, this gap will close as the child’s permanent teeth grow in. In some cases, braces are recommended to help realign the teeth. If the braces don’t close the gap, a labial frenectomy may be implemented to address abnormal spacing.
A child with an elongated lingual frenum can develop a condition called “tongue ties.” If this condition is not properly addressed, a child can experience difficulties eating and speaking. In advanced cases, children may develop a difficulty swallowing. A frenectomy can be implemented to help restore function to the tongue.
Periodontist Dr. Jody Harrison performs all aspects of the frenectomy procedure in our comfortable Asheville, NC, dentist office.