What is a Frenum?
A frenum is an attachment of tissue in the mouth. There are several frenums in the mouth. The three largest being the labial or maxillary frenum, which connects the upper lip with the gum tissue between the two front teeth, the lingual frenum, which connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth and the mandibular frenum, which connects the lower lip to the gums between the two lower front teeth. Naturally, frenum tissue can be either thick or thin, and sometimes frenums that are too thick or tight can cause issues with eating, speaking, positioning of the teeth and the integrity of the gums.
Common Problems With Large Frenums
- A thick/ low labial frenum can cause a gap between the two front teeth
- A thick/ low labial frenum can be torn or damaged in a facial injury
- A thick/short lingual frenum can reduce tongue movement and cause issues with speaking and pronunciation
- A thick/short mandibular frenum can cause pulling on the lower front teeth gums, leading to gum recession and loss of gum tissue
Why is a Frenectomy Beneficial?
A frenectomy is a procedure used to reduce or eliminate the negative effects of the frenum on the surrounding anatomy. A frenectomy helps to eliminate pulling and stress on the attached tissues. For instance, reducing the tongue’s attachment to the floor of the mouth helps improve tongue motion and speech, while reducing the attachment between the upper front teeth can help close a gap between the teeth.
What is Involved in a Frenectomy Procedure?
During a frenectomy, the tissue will be cut back, either with a scalpel or a laser. A local anesthetic may be used to prevent pain, and the healing time is speedy. A frenectomy can be completed in infancy, childhood or adulthood.
Benefits of a Frenectomy
- Reduce the risk of injury
- Reduce the risk of gum recession/ prevent further gum recession
- Closing gap between teeth
- Improved tongue mobility for proper speech