What is a frenum?
A frenum is a fold of tissue in the mouth that secures or restricts motion of the lip or tongue.
What is a frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that removes one of these folds from the lip or tongue. The surgery is a common dental procedure performed on both children and adults, which may be performed with a traditional blade or with a laser. The laser method induces much less bleeding, reduces the need for stitches, minimizes post-operative discomfort and promotes a faster recovery time.
When is a frenectomy needed?
The frenum that connects the inside of the upper lip to the gums above the front teeth, when very thick or tight, may interfere with latching in breastfeeding infants, can prevent teeth from erupting, create a need for orthodontics or prevent a person from fully smiling. A tight frenum between the tongue and the floor of the mouth, commonly referred to as a “tongue tie,” may also cause difficulty in breast and bottle feeding and can cause speech issues or pain. Less often, a frenum inside the lower lip, can pull gums away from front teeth, leading to gum disease and loss of permanent teeth.
Adults that wear full dentures may require a frenectomy if one or more frena prevents a denture from seating properly.
How do patients recover from a Frenectomy?
A laser Frenectomy generally heals quickly and with little or no pain. Your doctor may recommend a mild pain reliever such as Tylenol for infants and younger children after the procedure and instruct the use of coconut oil, vitamin E to facilitate healing.