What Is a Frenectomy, and When Is It Necessary?

Have you ever heard of a frenectomy? If not, the word may sound a bit intimidating. Frenectomy is a word that describes a simple and common procedure doctors use to address mouth problems. The treatment is more common in babies with feeding or speech problems, but adults may need it, too.

If you feel around your mouth, you will feel a thin strip of tissue high up your front teeth that attach to your upper lip. Also, if you raise your tongue, you will see another thin bit of tissue joined to the floor of your mouth. That tissue is called a frenum (or frenulum).

Sometimes, the frenum can be too firm and limit your lip or tongue's range of motion. That necessitates treatment by frenectomy.


What Is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy, frenotomy, or frenulectomy is an oral surgery that clips the frenum to ease stiffness or remove it. If the frenum is too tight or too short, it can cause tongue and lip ties, making it hard to feed, swallow, or talk.


Frenectomy in Children

Tongue ties and lip ties are common during infancy. Babies with tight or short frenum may have trouble breastfeeding. This can cause a baby to lose weight or delay gaining it. Also, if you are nursing, you may feel more pain during feeding if your baby has a tongue or lip tie.

A frenectomy is simple to carry out on a baby. A pediatric oral surgeon or dentist can perform the procedure in their office. Complications and risks are minimal.


Frenectomy in Grownups

As you grow, your mouth experiences significant changes. If your speech develops right and you have no issues drinking or eating, you may not need a frenectomy later in life. But sometimes, as your oral cavity changes, a frenum could detach your gums from your lower front teeth, causing gum recession.

It may also interfere with your tongue's flexibility or lip's mobility. In these cases, a frenectomy may be essential. Adults may take a longer time to recover from a frenectomy than infants.


When Exactly Is Frenectomy Necessary?


Frenectomy is necessary if there are risks to leaving your condition untreated. Your doctor may recommend a frenectomy if your frenum is:


  • Exposing your teeth roots

  • Pulling away your gums from your teeth

  • Growing too large, can separate your lower or upper front teeth and leave gaps between them

  • Causing changes in speech

  • Interfering with jaw development

A frenectomy helps resolve mouth issues that may cause oral health problems, eventually leading to lasting positive change.


Thinking of Getting a Frenectomy?

If you are having issues with your frenum, talk to your doctor about getting a frenectomy. Before your frenectomy, your doctor will check your medical history and determine the most suitable way to perform the procedure. As with any invasive treatment, certain medicines like blood thinners can increase the risk of losing too much blood during surgery.

But that does not mean you cannot have a frenectomy if you are on blood thinners. A qualified oral surgeon will know how to work around your situation and minimize the risk of excessive bleeding.

For more on frenectomy and when it is necessary, visit Oral Surgical Associates at our office in Missoula or Hamilton, Montana. Call (406) 282-8768 to book an appointment today.

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