The word “frenulum” refers to a piece of tissue that is attached to an organ and prevents it from moving around too much. Your body has many frena, including in your mouth. In fact, your mouth has two major ones, one that connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth and one that connects your upper lip to your gums. For most people, these frena form as normal and cause no problems. However, there are some people whose frena do not form properly. At Cassity & Legacy Implants and Periodontics, we can help solve these issues with a frenectomy.
What Issues Can the Frenulum Cause?
Both the lingual frenulum (the fold of tissue that connects your tongue to the floor of your mouth) and the maxillary labial frenulum (the tissue connecting your upper lip to your gums) can cause issues and are present at birth. The lingual frenulum keeps your tongue from slipping back into your throat. However, some infants are born with the frenulum being too short, or extending right to the tip of the tongue. This keeps the tongue tight against the floor of the mouth, limiting movement, a condition known as a tongue tie. The severity can vary, but a tongue tie can affect an infant’s ability to nurse properly as well as their ability to form certain words when they start learning to speak.
There are a couple of issues that can occur with the maxillary labial frenulum. First, it can be short and tight, resulting in a lip tie, which affecting an infant’s nursing ability. Or, the frenulum can be too thick. When this happens, it can cause a large gap between your front top two teeth. Even if you have worn braces to close the gap, a large frenulum can cause the teeth to separate again after the braces have been removed.
A frenectomy is a procedure that clips or removes a part of the frenulum with the use of a scalpel or laser. The use of a laser has become a more common and popular method of performing a frenectomy, using laser pulses to gently sever the tissue. Lasers are faster and more accurate. There is less bleeding involved and less of a chance for tissue damage. Fewer sutures are needed and the healing process is quicker.
The procedure is quite simple and very quick. First, we administer a local anesthetic. We make the necessary cut to the frenulum and stitch the wound. Lingual frenectomies are usually performed on young children, some shortly after they are born. This enables infants to nurse or feed from a bottle easier and helps them to thrive. It also prevents issues later on when they learn to speak. Sometimes, frenectomies are performed on children when they are several months old, even after one year. These babies were born with a tongue tie that didn’t affect their ability to eat, but they are having trouble with their speech.
Maxillary labial frenectomies are performed often for orthodontic and aesthetic purposes. This procedure is performed after braces are removed, having closed the gap between the top two front teeth. It is done after braces, rather than before, as the scar tissue that forms after surgery can prevent braces from completely closing a gap.
Problems with the oral frena can easily be solved with a frenectomy. If you, or your child, are dealing with issues relating to either the lingual or the maxillary labial frenulum, contact us today at South Ogden:(385) 626-0977 or Kaysville:(385)-439-0101 to schedule a consultation.
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