What is Frenectomy?

Posted on November 2nd, 2018

A Frenectomy is a procedure where an irregular fraenum (pronounced free-num) is removed to help preserve oral health. The fraenum is the tissue that connects the gum to the lip – you can feel it when you put your tongue inside your upper or lower lip. A frenectomy is recommended for everyone with an abnormal fraenum and is commonly corrected in babies.

When do you need a Frenectomy?

The upper labial frenum is a ligament that attaches the muscles of the upper lip from the inside mucosa to the gingivae (gum) above the upper central teeth. Where the attachment is high, occasionally running in between the two upper central teeth on older children, it is sometimes referred to as a lip tie.

During breastfeeding, a restrictive ligament can affect a baby’s ability to flange their upper lip to create an efficient vacuum seal, often losing attachment, allowing air to be sucked in resulting in wind and reflux like symptoms. Due to their poor sucking action, these lip tied babies often don’t get an adequate milk intake, tend to tire easily and therefore tend to feed for longer time periods and feed more often making the problem worse.

The lingual frenum is part of a complex ligament structure that essentially attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth and lower jaw. When this attachment is close to the lower central teeth this is commonly called being tongue tie. The tongue-tied baby is restricted in the ability of their tongue to move fully with resulting reduced function.

What issues can an irregular fraenum cause?

An abnormal frenum can cause:

  •  breastfeeding problems (poor latching and insufficient sucking)
  • decay and poor oral hygiene
  • speech issues such as lisping
  • difficulties in brushing and flossing
  • cosmetic issues (gaps in between front teeth)

Treatment

A “frenectomy” is a minor surgical procedure to remove or divide a frenum, a small ligament that regulates the movement of lip and tongue. At our practices, we use soft tissue diode laser to excise the unwanted thick tissue. The benefits of using laser are no numbing required, no bleeding, no scarring, quick healing and happy baby.