Frenectomy refers to the procedure that removes the connective tissue (called the frenum) at either the top or the bottom of the mouth, specifically under the tongue or the upper gums.
Frenectomies — Tongue Tie & Lip Tie Release
Frenectomy refers to the procedure that removes the connective tissue (called the frenum) at either the top or the bottom of the mouth, specifically under the tongue or the upper gums. Frenectomies are usually performed in children who are experiencing certain speech, eating, or orthodontic problems.
What is a frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that involves the removal of one or both frena from the mouth. The frenum is the connective tissue membrane that attaches one surface within the mouth to another.
There are three functions of frena:
- The lingual frenum, which is the vertical band of thin tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth
- The labial frenum, which is the connective webbing that attaches the lips to the bums above the top two front teeth and below the bottom two front teeth
- The buccal frena, which is the three strands of tissue that connect the gums to the insides of the cheeks
What are the types of Frenectomy Procedures?
A lingual frenectomy involves removing the tissue connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Lingual frenectomies are commonly used to correct a condition called Ankyloglossia, otherwise known as tongue-tie. Tongue-tie is usually related to a short, thick frenum, which limits the tongue’s capacity to move.
Ankyloglossia can make it difficult for infants to breastfeed. It can also impact speech and eating in children and adults. Patients often try to compensate for the lack of tongue mobility by changing their jaw position – resulting in other orthodontic issues.
A maxillary frenectomy involves removing the piece of tissue connecting the upper gums to the front teeth – commonly referred to as a lip-tie. Everyone has this tissue, but most issues arise when the tissue is excessively large or tight in infants. Newborns who cannot flare or curl out their lips have problems latching onto the breast while breastfeeding.
In older children and adults, a large frenum can also push the front teeth apart, creating a gap between them and necessitating orthodontic treatment once permanent teeth come in.
When is a frenectomy needed?
There are several signs that a frenectomy may be needed. In infants, this condition would make it difficult to nurse, breastfeed or feed from a bottle.
In toddler-age children, if left untreated the child may experience difficulty in speaking because they can’t extend their tongue as other kids can. In extreme cases, it may cause difficulty when swallowing.
Extended maxillary labial frenum could cause orthodontic problems and interfere with the proper growth and spacing of the upper two front teeth, often leaving a gap between these teeth.
How is a frenectomy performed?
A frenectomy procedure is a simple surgery usually performed as an in-office, outpatient procedure. It takes less than 15 minutes to perform and recovery takes approximately 2 weeks.
If you have any more questions about frenectomy procedures, please contact our office or view more of our dental services.