What is a Frenectomy and Why is it Important?

child in need of braces and frenectomy

What Is A Frenectomy and How Does It Help Your Child?

Is your child “tongue-tied”? Are you developing a gap between your front teeth? A frenectomy could be the solution. A frenum is a band of connective tissue that attaches one tissue to another. In the oral cavity, there are two types of frena – labial and lingual. If a frenum is connected in an abnormal fashion (such as too high or too long), it can lead to a wide array of cosmetic and developmental concerns. Today, we will discuss the two types of frena, and how a frenectomy at Bowmanville Dental can improve your overall oral health.

About Labial Frena

A labial frenum connects the inside of the lip to the gums, and is located between the two central incisors on the upper and lower arch. A typical frenum does not cause any issues. However, if the labial frenum is attached too high, it can cause the gums to recede, exposing the roots of the teeth. A high frenum attachment can also result in tension between the teeth, which can eventually push them apart. This diastema, or space between the teeth, can usually only be closed down after the frenum is eliminated. Therefore, if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is important to have the frenectomy performed before the braces come off. Otherwise, the teeth will eventually be pushed apart again.

About Lingual Frena

A lingual frenum is located underneath the tongue. It connects the floor of the mouth to the tongue. If the attachment is too long, or too far toward the tip of the tongue, it can restrict the tongue’s movement. This can lead to difficulty speaking or swallowing. Oftentimes, if a baby is born with a tongue-tie, a frenectomy will be performed before even leaving the hospital. This is because a high frenum attachment can result in issues with bottle feeding. In other cases, a problem may not be evident until the child begins speaking. If there are no obvious issues, a frenectomy may not even be necessary.

How is the Procedure Performed?

A frenectomy is one of the most simple and straightforward procedures in dentistry. Although there is a great deal of skill involved for the dentist, the procedure is typically quite uneventful for the patient. To begin, a topical numbing gel will be applied to the frenum, and local anesthesia will be administered. If desired, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can be given to you, as well. The procedure is so short, however, that it rarely requires general anesthesia.

Once you are comfortable, the doctor will eliminate the frenum by severing it. Sometimes, this is performed by making an incision. Most of the time, the procedure can be completed with a laser. This will cauterize the tissue as it cuts; therefore, there is less bleeding and discomfort, and a lower risk of infection. In the event that sutures are necessary, they will typically dissolve on their own within the first three to five days after surgery.

Recovery is generally straightforward. It is a good idea to avoid strenuous activity for 48 hours to prevent excessive bleeding and swelling. Any discomfort can be addressed with over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

Learn More about Frenectomies Or Schedule Your Consultation

If you think you or your child may require a frenectomy, schedule a consultation at our Bowmanville, ON location today. You can contact us online anytime, or call us at 905.697.9799.