It may sound a bit intimidating, but a frenectomy is actually a fairly simple and straightforward surgical treatment, oftentimes for dental-specific problems. It essentially entails the removal of a frenulum, a tough, sinewy tissue which restricts the movement of an organ elsewhere in the body. It’s like a “tether” in the human body keeping certain “adventuresome” organs from wandering off elsewhere. Many of the frenulum which necessitate this treatment are located in the mouth, although there are a few others located in different areas of the body. Those which are commonly of interest to your dentist are located in the lips and tongue.
Reasons for a Frenectomy treatment:
- Proper speaking is difficult
- Eating is a challenge, or requires unnecessary effort
- Causes aesthetic issues with one’s appearance, which can be especially problematic for proper physical, emotional, and social development in children
This treatment remedies many problems through a simple surgical cutting and removal of the frenulum, alleviating tension and enabling a more natural range of movement. This procedure has proven highly effective in resolving the problem with only a single visit. There are usually three types of frenectomy treatments which your dentist would perform:
- Lingual Frenectomy: Removal of the frenulum attached to the tongue, which offers stability in its usual (resting) place. Normally, this tissue has ample slack to allow the tongue to properly perform the functions of eating and speaking. However, if it is too short or too taut, it binds the tongue too low in the mouth, literally resulting in a state of being “tongue-tied”.
- Upper Labial Frenectomy: Removal of the tissue connecting the upper jaw and the lip, which is most commonly an aesthetic issue. However, it could grow too far down into the mouth, causing a gap in the front teeth, or prevent the patient’s lips from closing and sealing properly. This latter condition can result in constant open-mouth breathing, which can affect jaw development and nasal breathing in children, or in more serious cases, cause the gums to retract from the teeth.
- Lower Labial Frenectomy: Removal of the tissue connecting the lower jaw and the lower lip for similar reasons as those affecting the upper lip. Additionally, it can reduce interference with dentures in older adults, thus preventing them from being pulled loose with lip movements.
Contact your trusted dentist, Dr. Desai, today for a consult on whether this treatment is right for you.