You have been told you need one, but what is a frenectomy? That’s a very unusual word, but it’s not a difficult procedure. A frenectomy is an effective oral surgery that is used for infants, youth, and older patients for a variety of reasons. However, despite its success rate and its common use, few people know the term.
To understand the procedure, let’s start with the word frena. This is the term for the small connecting folds of tissue inside your mouth. Frena connect the upper lip to the cheeks and the tongue to the mouth floor. A frenectomy is the removal or trimming of the frena to improve eating, speech, breathing, and other childhood problems. It may be used for orthodontic or dental care as well.
Lingual Frenectomy and the Tongue Tie
Sometimes an infant is born with restricted tongue movement. In this case, their lingual frenum isn’t flexible, and the child’s tongue can’t latch correctly. This leads to difficulty nursing. To quickly alter the situation, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can perform a lingual frenectomy.
This common procedure is still a worry for parents, but the success rate is worth it. An infant heals quickly, and the expanded range of movement makes nursing much easier. Soon the baby is eating well and thriving.
Older children may need this treatment to help with issues of eating, speech, and dental hygiene. A lingual frenectomy can improve speech in children with a significant tongue tie. It can make eating less difficult. These corrections can improve a child’s communication skills. Certainly it instills confidence by quickly and efficiently freeing the tongue’s movement.
Labial Frenectomy and the Upper Lip
The labial frenum connects the upper lip to the front teeth. If the fold extends down too far, it can cause a gap in the patient’s teeth. The labial frenum may need to be removed to improve how well braces will work. It may be done to enhance your bite or to discourage mouth breathing.
Later in life, a labial frenectomy may help dentures fit more securely. In other cases, it is used to discourage receding gums and assist with maintaining the placement of your natural teeth.
Reasons for a Frenectomy
Here’s a recap of the many reasons that patients get a frenectomy:
- Infant nursing problems
- Toddler or older child speech problems
- Toddler or older child eating problems
- Dental Hygiene (all ages)
- Orthodontic-related Care
- Upper-teeth gap (front)
- Receding Upper Gums
- Mouth breathing
- Better Fit for Dentures
If a pediatrician, speech therapist, dentist or orthodontist recommends a frenectomy, you can trust Desert Valley Oral Surgery to do it right. Call to schedule an appointment.