About the Procedure

What is a Frenectomy?


A frenectomy, also known as a frenulectomy, is a surgical procedure that involves the removal or modification of a frenulum. A frenulum is a small fold of tissue that connects two structures in the body. Frenectomy is most performed in the mouth to address problems caused by an abnormal frenulum.

In the mouth, there are two main frenulums that are typically treated with a frenectomy: the lingual frenulum and the labial frenulum. The lingual frenulum is the fold of tissue located beneath the tongue, which can be too tight or short, causing a condition known as tongue-tie or ankyloglossia. This condition can restrict the tongue’s range of motion and affect speech, swallowing, and breastfeeding in infants. A lingual frenectomy can help alleviate these issues by removing or loosening the frenulum.

The labial frenulum is located above the upper or lower front teeth and connects the lips to the gums. Sometimes, the labial frenulum can be abnormally positioned or overly thick, causing a gap between the front teeth or interfering with orthodontic treatment. A labial frenectomy can be performed to correct this condition by removing or repositioning the frenulum.

Overall, a frenectomy is a relatively simple, low-risk procedure that can be performed by a dentist or oral surgeon using local anaesthesia. It aims to improve the function and aesthetics of the affected area by addressing problems associated with an abnormal frenulum.

What type of Frenectomies can be done?

There are different types of frenectomies that can be performed, depending on the specific frenulum involved and the desired outcome. The main types of frenectomies include:

  1. Lingual Frenectomy: This procedure involves the removal or modification of the lingual frenulum, which is the fold of tissue beneath the tongue. It is commonly performed to treat tongue-tie (ankyloglossia), where the frenulum restricts the tongue’s movement, causing issues with speech, swallowing, and breastfeeding.
  2. Labial Frenectomy: This procedure focuses on the labial frenulum, which is the fold of tissue that connects the upper or lower lip to the gums. A labial frenectomy is typically performed to address a frenulum that is positioned too close to the front teeth or is too thick, causing a gap between the teeth or interfering with orthodontic treatment.
  3. Maxillary Frenectomy: This type of frenectomy targets the frenulum that connects the upper lip to the gums. It is commonly done to address a prominent or excessive maxillary frenulum, which can lead to a high labial frenulum attachment and cause a gap between the front teeth.
  4. Mandibular Frenectomy: This procedure involves the removal or modification of the frenulum that connects the lower lip to the gums. It is performed to address an abnormal mandibular frenulum that may cause issues like gums pulling away from the lower front teeth or interfere with denture placement.

In addition to these, there can be specific variations and techniques employed depending on the individual case. It is best to consult with an oral surgeon or dentist to determine the appropriate type of frenectomy for a specific situation.

Why is it important to resolve an active Labial (Lip) and Lingual (Tongue) Frenum?

It is important to address an abnormal or restrictive labial or lingual frenulum because it can lead to various functional and aesthetic issues. Here are some reasons why it is important to resolve an active labial and lingual frenum:

  1. Speech and Language Development: In infants and children, a tight or abnormal frenulum can restrict the movement of the tongue, leading to difficulties in speech production. This can impact their ability to articulate certain sounds and may significantly affect their speech development.
  2. Breastfeeding Difficulties: Tongue-tie caused by an abnormal lingual frenulum can make breastfeeding challenging for infants. It can interfere with their ability to latch properly, leading to inadequate milk transfer, poor weight gain, and potential nipple pain or damage for the breastfeeding parent.
  3. Oral Hygiene Issues: A restrictive frenulum can make it difficult to clean certain areas of the mouth properly. For example, in the case of a tight labial frenulum, it can cause a gap between the front teeth, making it challenging to adequately clean that space, increasing the risk of dental plaque buildup and gum problems.
  4. Orthodontic Concerns: An abnormal labial frenulum can create a diastema, or gap, between the upper or lower front teeth. This diastema can complicate orthodontic treatment or make it challenging to close the gap without addressing the frenulum first.
  5. Aesthetic Concerns: Both labial and lingual frenulum issues can have aesthetic implications. An abnormal frenulum that causes a gap between the front teeth or limits the tongue’s movement may affect an individual’s self-confidence and overall appearance.

By resolving an abnormal labial or lingual frenulum through a frenectomy, these functional and aesthetic issues can be addressed, allowing for improved speech, easier breastfeeding, better oral hygiene, smoother orthodontic treatment, and enhanced overall well-being. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a dentist or oral surgeon, who can evaluate the specific situation and provide appropriate guidance and treatment options.

Is a Frenectomy a painful procedure?

A frenectomy is usually a minor surgical procedure and is typically well-tolerated by patients. The level of discomfort experienced during and after the procedure can vary from person to person and depends on individual pain tolerance. However, steps are taken to minimize pain and discomfort during the procedure and during the recovery period.

Local anaesthesia is typically administered to numb the area being treated, ensuring that you do not feel any pain during the frenectomy. This local anaesthesia will help keep you comfortable throughout the procedure.

After the frenectomy, you may experience some soreness or discomfort in the treated area. This is normal and can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, as recommended by your healthcare provider. It is important to follow any post-operative instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon, including any prescribed pain medications and post-operative care guidelines.

In most cases, any discomfort or mild pain associated with a frenectomy should resolve within a few days to a week. However, it is essential to contact your healthcare provider if you experience severe or worsening pain, excessive bleeding, or any other concerning symptoms following the procedure.

Remember, every individual’s experience with pain can vary, so it is important to communicate with your healthcare provider about any concerns or questions you may have. They can provide you with the appropriate information and guidance to ensure a comfortable and smooth experience during and after the frenectomy.

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