There are multiple frenums noted in the mouth. They are soft tissue connections that attach your gum to your cheek, tongue, or other soft tissues in the mouth. The most prominent frenums are the lingual and maxillary labial ones. The maxillary labial frenum connects from the gum tissue in between the maxillary central incisors (upper front middle teeth) to the upper lip. If the attachment descends to the gum line or gingival margin, it can cause separation of the middle front teeth to a diastema. A frenectomy may need to be completed before or after orthodontic therapy if there is a prominent frenum. This tissue is removed and repositioned to a level further away from the gum line. This procedure can be accomplished with a laser or a blade. Your periodontist will discuss the best option for you at your dental consultation appointment.
The labial frenum connects from the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If this connection is too tight, it can inhibit normal movements of the tongue and cause speech impediments. Infants may require a frenectomy if they are having trouble latching during breastfeeding. Again, you can discuss with your PerioLife periodontist if a frenectomy is a good treatment option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frenectomies can be an important part of orthodontic treatment when a long or short frenum is causing tooth or jaw displacement. In the case of a short lingual frenum, patients may push out the lower jaw to make eating or speaking easier – causing pain in the jaw or an underbite.
Not to worry, a labial frenectomy is a quick and pain-free procedure that is done in one visit. Two methods can be used including laser surgery and traditional surgery.
When a frenectomy is indicated, the timing should be agreed between the orthodontist and surgeon. The frenectomy may be undertaken when the incisor teeth are orthodontically aligned and space closure is imminent or partial space closure has been undertaken, ie during orthodontic treatment.
Whether for a child or an adult, a frenectomy can restore a healthy smile. It can help an infant whose frenulum interferes with breastfeeding, improve one's bite function and stabilize dentures, reduce oral discomfort, and improve facial appearance by correct tooth placement and restore self-esteem and confidence.