A frenectomy is the detachment of a frenum, or muscle attachment. There are two types of frenum in a person’s mouth. One attaches your tongue to the floor of your mouth, the other attaches your lip to your gums. If you lift your tongue up and look in a mirror, the line you see is your frenum. Likewise, if you pull your lower lip down (or upper lip up) the line you see is your frenum.
A frenectomy might be recommended for many different reasons. Ankyloglossia is a dental condition more commonly referred to as “tongue-tied”. If you cannot open your mouth and touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth, you are tongue-tied. There are several different degrees of ankyloglossia, some which inhibit a person from being able to extend their tongue past the tip of their teeth or out of their mouth. A frenum attachment could also lead to and/or be the cause of gingival recession. Preforming a frenectomy early on could prevent the need for a gingival graft in the future. A tight frenum pull between the upper anterior central incisors could cause a diastema or gap between the two teeth. A frenectomy in this case could prevent or narrow the existing space.
Traditionally, a frenectomy would be done by cutting the attachment with a scalpel and require stitches. However, Dr. Woods and Dr. Wiedower have a dental laser that has dramatically improved the frenectomy procedure. With the use of the laser, the attachment is disconnected and the tissue is cauterized at the same time, stopping the bleeding and decreasing the risk of infection. This method also eliminates the need for stitches. See before and after pictures in our Smile Gallery.
Drs. Woods and Wiedower will evaluate your frenum attachments as part of your normal exam while you are in for your cleaning; however, if you have a question regarding the procedure or need for a frenectomy, please call our office.