What is a frenectomy?
A frenectomy is the removal or reduction in size of a band of tissue called a frenum.
Where is the frenum?
There are two frenums located in the mouth : the labial frenum and lingual frenum. The labial frenum is found in the upper arch, it is the tissue that connects the lips to the gums above the upper central incisors. The lingual frenum is located between the base of the tongue and the floor of the mouth.
When is a frenectomy needed?
Labial frenum Lingual frenum
When the upper frenum is too wide or long, it can create a space between the two front teeth. Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment (braces) may be advised to go through frenectomy to prevent the space opening between the upper front teeth. Labial frenectomy may also be advised for denture patients. When a denture wearer’s lips move, the frenum may be pulled against the denture, which can be painful and uncomfortable. Frenectomy is often performed to help dentures fit better.
Lingual Frenectomy (Frenectomy for Tongue-tie)
An unusually short or thick labial frenum can reduce the mobility of the tongue. This condition is commonly known as “tongue tie”. “Tongue tie” can lead to problems with tongue mobility, leading to difficulties with speech articulation and swallowing. Lingual frenectomy may be required to free the tongue.
What is the procedure like?
Depending on the patient’s condition, the frenum is removed or reduced in size with a scalpel (blade) or a soft tissue laser. In some cases, the dentist may use a combination of scalpel and laser to shape the tissue to get a desired outcome. Frenectomy is usually done under local anaesthesia although general anaesthesia can be considered for young children needing this treatment.