Frenectomy is an oral surgery procedure that treats a lip-tie or tongue-tie conditions. It may be used to increase your tongue’s range of motion or help close a gap between the two teeth. Frenectomy is a simple treatment procedure that offers a wide range of benefits.

What is a frenectomy?

A frenectomy sometimes also called a frenulectomy is an oral surgical procedure that treats lip-tie or tongue-tie. During the procedure, the surgeon cuts or modifies a frenum a band of connective tissue that joins two areas. In mouth, frenum can join your lips to your gums or your tongue to the floor of your mouth.

You have multiple frena in your mouth. Most of the time, they don’t cause any issues. However, if a frenum is too short or too tight, it can cause oral health problems and may have a negative impact on speech and other problems. In babies, it can cause issues with breastfeeding and swallowing.

Who needs a frenectomy?

Most of the time, frenectomy is performed on babies who are having feeding issues or if there are speech concerns. But sometimes, frenectomy is necessary for adults, too.

For example, sometimes a frenum can be so tight that it pulls your gums away from your teeth. A frenectomy frees the band of connective tissue, reducing the risk of gaps, gum recession and other oral health problems. Frenum between the upper front incisors lead to formation of diastema which can become a matter of concern in adults.

What is the purpose of a frenectomy?

There are many reasons why you or your child might need a frenectomy. Your healthcare provider might recommend this procedure to correct a frenum that’s causing the following

  • A lip-tie which limits lip movement.

  • A tongue-tie which limits your tongue’s range of motion.

  • Diastema (a gap between upper front incisor teeth), which may be cosmetically displeasing to some people.

  • Gum recession which can lead to gingivitis, cavities and mobility.

  • Pain, swelling or tenderness with brushing or oral care.

What are the advantages of this procedure?

Frenectomy surgery offers a number of benefits. Frenectomy procedure can

  • Improve breastfeeding problems in infants.

  • Improve speech problems caused by tongue-tie.

  • Reduce your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems.

  • Enhance the appearance of your smile by eliminating gaps or diastema.

What are the risks or complications of this procedure?

Like all procedures, a frenectomy is associated with possible risks and complications. Risks of frenectomy surgery include the following

  • Bleeding.

  • Infection.

  • Injury to salivary ducts that drain near the tongue-tie.

  • Pain.

  • Swelling.

  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia.

  • Reattachment of frenum (in rare cases).

What are the types of frenectomies?

There are two main types of oral frenectomies which are stated below

Lingual frenectomy

This procedure removes or modifies the band of tissue that connects the underside of your tongue to the floor of your mouth. Lingual frenectomies are mostly used to correct tongue-ties.

Labial frenectomy

Sometimes also called a maxillary frenectomy, this procedure removes the band of tissue that connects your upper gums to your front teeth. Labial frenectomies are mostly used to correct lip-ties. It’s important to note that labial frenectomies can be performed on the lower lip, but upper lip frenectomies are more common.

What happens before this procedure?

Before your frenectomy, your healthcare provider will review your medical history. They’ll also discuss the need for sedation and options for sedation process, which may include nitrous oxide, oral sedation or IV sedation. Sedation isn’t always necessary for a frenectomy.

When should frenectomy be done?

When the procedure should be done depends mainly on the situation. Babies can have frenectomies quickly and with little discomfort just a few weeks after delivery. No matter what your situation, your healthcare provider can help determine the best time for your frenectomy procedure.

What happens during this procedure?

In infants, the frenulum is removed using scissors. Usually, this is quick and takes a few minutes. In older children and adults, your healthcare provider may numb your tissue around the frenum with local anesthesia. Once you’re comfortable, they’ll remove or modify your frenum using a scalpel or surgical scissors. In some cases, sutures may be necessary to close the incision. Typically, the procedure may takes 30 minutes or fewer.

What happens after this procedure?

Following your frenectomy, your healthcare provider will give you detailed postoperative instructions. In infants, usually no further care is needed and they can resume feeding immediately. You may need pain relievers or painkiller medication to manage any discomfort and you may need to use antibacterial mouthwash. Your healthcare provider may want to see you in a week or two to monitor healing.

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