A frenectomy is the removal of a band of tissue that connects a muscle to a certain spot or area. Sometimes these frenums can attach overly high or low (depending on your orientation).
The most commonly found frenum is under the tongue. An overly ‘tight’ frenum can restrict movement thus negatively impacting speech and in severe cases a child’s ability to nurse.
Another common site for a frenum attachment is up by the two front teeth. An excessively large frenum can sometimes be the cause of a gap to form between the upper two adult front teeth. If this is happening with you or your child, it is important to note that if you wish to close the gap, the teeth must be moved orthodontically (with braces) first before cutting the frenum. If the frenum is cut before the gap is closed, the resulting scar tissue under the gums that may form will make it nearly impossible to close that gap orthodontically at a later time.
Other locations of frenum attachments worth noting are ones found attached too closely to the gums of our teeth. These frenums serve no functional purpose, but the constant tension of the frenum can pull the gums away from the tooth causing recession. The resulting exposed root surfaces can be sensitive. Without the natural gum barrier as protection, the softer root surfaces are prone to erosion and cavities. If the recession is severe enough, it may require gum grafting to correct it.
Frenectomies are safe and simple procedures performed to lower the risk of gum recession, prevent gaps from opening between teeth, and improve the function of the tongue. The procedure can be performed with a scalpel, but is more commonly now done with a laser to minimize discomfort and improve healing time. The surgical site heals within several days with minimal to no down time.