Inside everyone’s mouth are small ridges of connective tissue known as frenula, or in the singular, the frenulum. You have three frenula in your mouth. You are probably familiar with lingual frenulum because it is easily seen whenever you touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth - it is that thin membrane connecting the tongue to the mouth. The labial frenula are where the gums meet the lips, at both the top and bottom. When these frenula are formed incorrectly, Florida Smiles Dental performs what is called a frenectomy to fix this mistake.
The Basics of a Frenectomy
It is not uncommon for one of your frenula to be malformed so that it is too short or is placed incorrectly. A frenectomy can correct this by repositioning it, cutting it, or making another change. Lingual frenectomies, which are more common, are performed on the frenulum under the tongue, while maxillary frenectomies are concerned with your lip frenula. Most frenectomies are performed on very young children, often infants, because a malformed frenula is easy to spot and babies recover faster than adults. Occasionally, though, an event can occur later in life that necessitates a frenectomy.
The Benefits of a Frenectomy
Depending on the severity of the malformed frenulum, everyday activities can be made far more difficult and even painful. A shortened lingual frenulum, for example, can hinder clear speech and impede the development of speech in young children. Issues with the labial frenula can make brushing the incisors very difficult, and may produce gaps between the teeth. Until a frenectomy is performed to repair the frenulum, braces will be unable to make a difference as the problem will continue to reoccur. Other issues can include trouble chewing, breathing, and keeping your teeth, gums, and tongue clean. Often, if a malformed frenula is not corrected gum disease is the consequence as bacteria are able to more easily infest the mouth.
What Is a Frenectomy Like?
Because there is very little to a frenectomy procedure there is little you need to do beforehand, and recovery is negligible. An anesthetic will be given so that there is no discomfort. If the frenectomy is being performed on a child, it may help if you hold them to reduce movement and provide them with supportive comfort. Depending on circumstances, we may use either a scalpel or a special kind of laser designed to be used on soft tissue while minimizing bleeding. This should usually take around a quarter of an hour. You will be able to leave immediately afterward, and most of our patients report that the surgery is so painless it hardly even registers.
Do You Need a Frenectomy?
If you think that one of your frenula may be making it difficult for you to talk or eat, or if it is simply causing discomfort, a frenectomy is a fast and easy procedure that can have big benefits. Call 754-354-0363 to discuss with Florida Smiles Dental how a frenectomy may be able to help you.