Frenectomy is the laser-guided removal of frenulum (also know as frenum). This is a thin band of tissue found under the tongue and attached to the center of the upper and lower lip. There are two types of frenum. Lingual frenum is the tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Labial frenum is the attachment between the upper and lower lips and the gums. The labial frenum tissue can cause gaps in between your teeth or periodontal recession. Lingual frenum can cause speech impairment or difficulty eating.
If a frenulum interferes with your teeth alignment or if it constricts the movement of your lips or tongue, your dentist may consider doing a frenectomy to remove the frenulum. This condition is often called a “tongue-tie” or a “lip-tie”.”
Children and adults that are being fitted for dentures are the most common candidates for a frenectomy.
The oral surgery procedure is quickly done in our Cary, North Carolina office. Typically a local anesthetic is used to keep the patient comfortable. After the doctor is finished, patients will experience improved bite function, better fitting dentures (if a denture wearer), and lessened oral discomfort once the site labial frenectomy site has healed. If a lingual frenectomy is performed, improved speech and ability to eat is expected after healing.
If a tongue-tie or lip-tie is affecting your child breastfeeding, we recommend getting them into the office for a frenectomy as soon as possible. The procedure is very non-invasive and can mean the difference between your baby gaining needed weight during their first year.
As with all surgeries (even minor ones), frenectomy patients should expect some minor bleeding and swelling post-op. Because we use a tiny laser to perform the surgery, the bleeding is very minimal. For pain, we recommend using Tylenol and Advil. Within a week or two, frenectomy patients should be feeling back to normal!
Lip tie and tongue tie are not the same things. Tongue ties happen when the lingual frenum is too thick or stiff, causing speech impairments or difficulty eating. Lip ties affect the labial frenum, which is the small band of flesh that connects the upper and lower gums to the lips. Frenectomies, along with proper therapy, can treat both lip ties and tongue ties.
A tongue or lip tie “revision” is another way to say frenectomy.
A frenectomy may make it easier for a child to smile.
For one to two weeks after the surgery, patients should stick to a soft food diet. Ice cream, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and apple sauce are all great post-frenectomy foods.
Tongue ties are more likely to cause problems with speech then lip ties.
Frenectomies can be life-changing for babies and kids who need them. They can make everything from eating and drinking to speaking and smiling that much easier. Children who are tongue or lip tied need to get frenectomies when they’re young because the healing process is significantly easier when they’re little. A frenectomy on an adult is doable but, like with tonsillectomies, it requires a longer healing period and can come with additional complications.