Frenectomies are surgical procedures used to loosen connective bands in the mouth, most often under the tongue. Typically, frenectomy patients are young children. This is because developmental issues can cause speech disorders and trouble with chewing, swallowing, or breathing as patients grow older. There are two types of frenectomy procedures we use at Glen Perio; lingual and maxillary. The procedure itself and recovery are both very simple. We can explain these procedures in more detail when you give us a call.
Infants vs. Adults
Maldeveloped frenula can cause a different set of issues in infants and adults. For infants, short frenula can make breastfeeding difficult, meaning they would not get the proper nutrition needed for healthy development. This could lead to excessive weight gain or weight loss. In adult patients, short frenula can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, leading to gum recession. This can increase risk for infection and also make your teeth appear longer, which may bother some people aesthetically. You will also notice limited mobility in your tongue and lips. At the same time, short frenula may never become an issue for a patient at any age. Our periodontist can examine you or your child’s condition to determine if frenectomy is needed.
Types of Frenectomy
A lingual frenulum is what connects the tongue to the mouth. This band of tissue has a length that varies by person. In about five percent of the population, the lingual frenulum is too short and restricts movement. This condition is called ankyloglossia but is more commonly called a “tongue tie”. This is more common in males than females. Maxillary frenectomy refers to a procedure performed on the labial frenulum, which connects your top lip to your gum. A shortened labial frenulum, called lip adhesion, can also cause a speech disorder. These developmental issues can also make maintaining oral hygiene more difficult, meaning they actually pose a higher risk of cavities and other dental health disorders.
Frenectomy procedures are incredibly simple and only take about fifteen minutes to complete. It begins with a local anesthetic application (gel form). Our periodontist cuts the frenulum using surgical scissors, and scalpel, or a cauterizing instrument. Alternatively, lasers may be used instead. These are beneficial in that they reduce bleeding in comparison to traditional instruments. Stitches are used to close this incision if necessary, though this is usually only needed in more severe cases.
Recovery in infants usually tends to be quicker than that in adults, but both are very simple. Local anesthetic may take a few hours to wear off. In that time, you will feel numb, but you should not have any other effects. Over the first few days following the frenectomy, your diet will be limited to prevent bacteria from infecting the area. We will give you more information on this following the procedure. In addition, our periodontist will likely prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. The frenulum will begin its healing process after a day or two and it should begin to scar over after a week. To schedule a frenectomy, call Glen Perio at 224-488-3392 now.