What is a frenectomy?
A frenectomy is simply the removal of a frenum in the mouth. A frenum is a muscular attachment between two tissues. There are two frena (the plural form of frenum) in the mouth that can sometimes obstruct normal functon and are candidates for frenectomies. These are called the lingual frenum, which connects the tongue to floor of the mouth, and the maxillary labial frenum, which connects the inside of your upper lip to your gums just above your two upper front teeth.
Lingual Frenum and Frenectomy
The lingual frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Sometimes, the lingual frenum can run all the way to the tip of the tongue, causing a person to be “tongue-tied.” A restrictive lingual frenum is a common occurrence in young children. Normally, children are able to accommodate well to a prominent lingual frenum and can surprisingly eat and speak normally. If the attachment extends all the way to the tip of the tongue, then a frenectomy may give the child improved tongue function.
A lingual frenectomy involves making a small incision to help free the tongue from the floor of the mouth. The incision is typically sutured to allow the tissue to heal.
Maxillary Frenum and Frenectomy
The maxillary labial frenum attaches the upper lip to the gums just above the two upper front teeth. A prominent maxillary labial frenum can cause a large gap (diastema) to occur between the two upper front teeth. Although this can be a concern for parents and patients, unless the frenum is causing a lot of pain on the gums or upper lip, immediate treatment is not necessary.
A maxillary labial frenectomy involves making a small incision below the upper lip to “release” the frenum. The incision is typically sutured to allow the tissue to heal.
In conclusion, I would recommend only getting a frenectomy when the freunum is interfering with normal function or causing pain. This decision is made in conjunction with your general dentist/orthodontist and oral surgeon.