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What is a Frenectomy?

A frenum is a muscular stretch of tissue that connects and holds other tissues in place. Occasionally a frenum might be exceptionally short, thick, or tight, or may extend too far down along the tongue or the gum and results in lip tie or tongue tie. When a frenum is positioned in such a way it may interfere with the normal alignment of teeth, speech or constricts the movement of the tongue or lips. It can be corrected by a surgery called a frenectomy. A frenectomy is simply the removal of a frenum in the mouth.

There are two frena (the plural form of frenum) in the mouth that can sometimes obstruct normal function and are candidates for frenectomies. These frena are called:

Lingual Frenum: which connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth
Maxillary Labial Frenum: which connects the inside of your upper lip to your gums just above your upper two front teeth.

Sometimes, the lingual frenum can run all the way to the tip of the tongue, causing a person to be “tongue-tied.” If the attachment is extends all the way to the tip of the tongue, then a frenectomy may be the only choice to give the child normal tongue function.

The Frenectomy Procedure

Sometimes, we have patients that have difficulty eating or speaking due to the tissue that connects the underside of their tongue to the bottom of their mouth. In this case, we’ll perform a lingual frenectomy. This simple procedure starts with numbing the tongue with an anesthetic. Then, we make a small incision in the tissue, freeing the tongue from the bottom of the mouth. Finally, we sew up the incision and allow the tissue to heal. 

A soft tissue laser is an alternative method to to address the issue. A soft tissue laser does NOT cut but uses light energy to “vaporize” the tissue with very little discomfort. Additionally there is almost no bleeding from the laser procedure. The healing is very quick with less risk of infection.

If you or your child is experiencing discomfort and is struggling this issue, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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