What is a Frenectomy and When is it Necessary?

Posted by Jenny Spera Jan 24, 2023

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A frenectomy is a minor surgical procedure performed on the frenum. A frenum is a band of tissue that connects two muscles or body parts. The frenum is part of the normal development of your mouth, but sometimes a frenum can be attached too close to a tooth or too tightly, which can affect the function of the mouth and the health of the teeth and gums.

What is a Frenectomy?

Commonly referred to as tongue-tie, a frenectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a small amount of tissue from the underside of the tongue to allow the tongue to move more freely in the mouth. This procedure is often used for children but can be used effectively in adults as well.

Because the tongue plays a crucial role in speech development as well as swallowing and eating properly, having a restricted tongue can negatively affect your child’s quality of life and ability to function normally. A frenectomy can help remove this restriction and improve your child’s overall health.

Some parents aren’t aware that their children have a restricted tongue and may notice issues as the child gets older. An evaluation with your dentist will confirm whether or not your child is a good candidate for a frenectomy. 

When Is a Frenectomy Necessary?

A frenum is the fold of skin that attaches the inside of your upper lip to the gums above your two front teeth. Some people have naturally tight or short frenums. In some cases, this causes a gap to form between the two front teeth. This gap is known as a “diastema.”

In some situations, the gap may widen over time. In other cases, a child’s upper jaw may not grow properly if the frenum is too tight. In these situations, your dentist may recommend having a frenectomy.

A frenectomy involves removing a small strip of tissue from the lip. This helps loosen the attachment of the frenum so the gap in your child’s teeth can close on its own. A frenectomy is usually performed when your child is about seven years old. However, in some cases, it may be necessary earlier. If the frenum does not become looser over time, it may be necessary to have a surgical frenectomy. Our dentist is specially trained to perform frenectomies on children. The procedure is quick and usually does not require anesthesia. Afterward, the area around the treated area may be sore for a few days. The pain and soreness can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

To learn more about our dental services, contact Spera Dental at 5190 E. Farness Drive, Suite 102, Tucson, AZ 85712, or call (520) 323-3241.

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