A Frenectomy or Frenotomy is a procedure where binding tissue on the body is cut or modified.  A circumcision is considered to be a Frenectomy.  Usually when the term Frenectomy is used it is referring to an oral procedure.  There are different types of oral Frenectomy.  Lingual Frenectomy, Maxillary Frenectomy, Labial Frenectomy. 

The frenum is the piece of soft tissue connecting the lips and gums, the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, or the gums to the cheeks.  The most common types are Lingual, and Maxillary.  The frenum being too tight or short can cause trouble in breastfeeding, swallowing, and speech development.  If left untreated it can also cause other orthodontic problems when adult teeth have grown in. 

A Frenectomy is a safe, easy, and convenient procedure to be done at any age.  It is usually done on children that are either infants or of toddler age.  It can be done on children in their teens if it has shown to cause other orthodontic troubles, but can also be done on adults. 


Types Of Oral Frenectomy

A Lingual Frenectomy is when the tissue under the tongue connecting the tongue to the foot of the mouth is removed.  This type of Frenectomy is usually associated with tongue-tie, or Ankyloglossia.  It affects about 5% of all infants born.  It is more common in boys than it is in girls.  Tongue-tie limits the tongue’s capacity to move.  This can impact breastfeeding, speech, or eating in older children.  If not corrected someone with this may try to move their jaw to compensate for their lack of tongue movement.  This can lead to jaw misalignment and other orthodontic issues down the road.  

The other most common Frenectomy is the Maxillary Frenectomy.  This is dealing with the tissue that connects the top lip to the gum area above the front teeth.  This can impact speech.  It can also cause problems with dental development causing a gap between the two front teeth.  It can also make it very hard to fully clean the gums and teeth, raising the risk of gum disease. 


Signs & Symptoms

Signs your child or yourself need a frenectomy is if there is trouble breastfeeding, trouble speaking, or in severe cases difficulty swallowing.  If left untreated it can cause orthodontic problems, interfere with proper tooth growth, or cause a gap between the front two teeth.  



The actual procedure only takes about 15 minutes.  A topical anesthetic will be applied to the area.  Then the doctor will snip the frenum using either a scalpel, surgical scissors or a cauterizing tool.  In severe cases stitches may be needed.  Some doctors will use a laser to perform the Frenectomy.  A laser Frenectomy has the same principle procedure, topical anesthetic applied, then using a laser to remove the frenum is done.  The benefits of laser is that it minimizes risks of infection and blood loss. 



Recovery usually takes about a week.  This is for the surgical area to be scarred over to where you can resume all normal activities.  Within one to two days though it will start to heal and you will feel better.  Your doctor will give you specific instructions on recovery.  A main recovery tip is to keep the area clean.  Make sure you rinse your mouth after eating so food doesn’t get trapped in areas around the surgical site.  This could put you at a higher risk of infection.  If your doctor thinks it is necessary you may be given oral antibiotics to take to prevent infections or complications.  Stretching exercises of the area may also be suggested.  



Even if your child is grown and has no trouble eating or swallowing but they have short or thick Upper frenum connecting their top lip to their gums above their two front teeth an orthodontist may recommend getting a Maxillary Frenectomy.  This is because the thicker frenum can push the front two teeth apart even after having corrective orthodontics done. 

A Frenectomy can be done at any age.  It is usually done to resolve tongue-tie or lip tie conditions in infants.  It is a safe procedure that shows little complications, that is done by an oral surgeon or your dentist office.  


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Signs your child or yourself need a Frenectomy is if there is trouble breastfeeding, trouble speaking, or in severe cases difficulty swallowing.

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