What is a frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a minor procedure in which the frenulum, a small fold of tissue that prevents the lip or tongue from overly extending, is surgically altered or modified.
Where is my child’s frenulum?
In the mouth there are two frenulums: 1) the lingual frenulum found under the tongue and 2) the labial frenum or frenulum found in the lip.
My child is tongue tied, what do I need to do?
There are different ways to evaluate if your child is tongue tied, or has ankyloglossia, and needs treatment. Your pediatric dentist can quickly evaluate if treatment is needed and discuss the options. Children who are tongue tied usually are unable to extend their tongue, pronounce certain sounds, and unable to lick their top lip. In these kids a lingual frenectomy is needed. The tissue underneath the tongue is modified to allow your child to extend their tongue normally.
My child has a gap between their top teeth. Do they need a frenectomy?
A low attachment of the upper labial frenectomy can often cause a gap between the two front teeth. The proper time to evaluate this is when your child is between 8-10 years old. It is often done in conjunction with orthodontics. Again, the pediatric dentist will be able to evaluate whether the gap is due to the frenum or just their normal development and tooth arrangement.
Is a frenecomy difficult?
Both an labial and lingual frenectomy are fairly straightforward and minor procedures. It is a surgical procedure that requires some cutting so some patients may experience minor discomfort for a few days afterwards. Generally, over the counter pain medication is sufficient. Healing occurs quickly and most children function normally within a few days. Frenectomies can be done by both a scalpel as well as a laser depending on the situation. The pediatric dentist can go over the various options available. In a few cases, the frenum will reattach to its original position and the procedure will have to be done again.