A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that removes or loosens a band of muscle tissue called a frenum, which is connected to the lip, cheek or floor of the mouth to allow for better range of motion. It is usually performed under local anesthetic and heals easily.
Tight Frenum attachments can affect people of all ages. Abnormal frenum attachments, also called lip-ties and tongue-ties, occur in about 10% of newborns and can cause a nursing mother to experience pain and other difficulties breastfeeding. Babies may experience colic, gastric reflux or gagging due to tight frenum attachments that can prevent a proper latch to both breast and bottle.
Children can also be affected by an abnormal frenum attachment. Tight attachments may cause spacing of the two front teeth. In some cases, releasing this attachment can help prevent the need for orthodontic treatment. Tight attachments can lead to difficulties keeping teeth clean, which increases the risk of decay. Speech and eating habits may also be impacted. In some cases, a tongue-tie can lead to sleep apnea and ADHD in children.
Adults can also experience sleep apnea because of a tongue-tie. Lip-ties can pull away gum tissue and make it difficult to clean around teeth, which can lead to periodontal disease. Dysfunction of the TMJ may also occur due to these ties.
Before your dentist recommends a frenectomy, they will weigh several factors, including the possibility that the condition may correct itself without surgery. If the best choice is a frenectomy, Dr. Chelsea or Dr. Erin can use a laser to remove excess tissue. There is very little discomfort with a laser. Some babies and children sleep through the procedure. There is almost no bleeding, and lasers sterilize when they touch the skin, reducing the risk of infection. Healing also is very quick since a laser stimulates bio-regeneration. The actual procedure takes a little over a minute and heals in days!