What is a Frenectomy?
A frenum is a small muscular fold which attaches two tissues together. Inside the mouth,there are three main frena: the lingual frenum, which connects the bottom of the tongue the the roof of the mouth, and the two labial frenum, which connect the inside of the upper or lower lip to the gums above your upper and lower front teeth. The purpose of the frenum is to limit certain muscle movements to prevent tissue damage, but sometimes the frenum can be overly restrictive, causing difficulty in eating and speaking and potentially causing tooth misalignment. An overly restrictive lingual frenum is fairly common in children, and usually results in speech impediments and difficulty eating. In the case of an overly restrictive lingual frenum, it is recommended that a frenectomy be performed as soon as possible to restore normal tongue movement.
An overly restrictive labial frenum may not cause any immediately noticeable effects in the development of the child, but as their teeth form, this can result in severely misaligned and gap teeth. Over time, the additional force applied by the labial frenum to the upper gums slowly pulls the entire bite out of alignment, usually separating the upper front two teeth. To avoid expensive and avoidable bite readjustment later in life, it is important that a frenectomy be performed as soon as the problem is identified by a dentist.
How is a Frenectomy Performed?
A frenectomy involves the removal of excess frenal tissue which is causing movement restriction. In the past, such a procedure was performed using anesthetic, traditional surgical tools, and sutures. While effective, the procedure has since been greatly improved through the use of a CO2 dental laser. A frenectomy performed with a dental laser proves to be far less invasive and painful for the patient, and eliminates the need for sutures. Additionally, little to no bleeding is expected during the procedure, and the healing process is greatly expedited. At Apex Dental, all frenectomies are performed using this new method, and our doctors have noticed much better treatment results.
A frenectomy is a quick, safe, and low-pain procedure that should always be performed if the labial or lingual frenum is causing pain or restricting movement in any way. An over-restrictive labial frenum can cause tooth misalignment and severely gap teeth during arch development in young people, and an over-restrictive lingual frenum will restrict normal speech development and proper eating habits. If you think your child may need a frenectomy, visit any one of our six Apex Dental locations for a consultation.