A frenum is a fold of tissue or muscle connecting the lips, cheek or tongue to the jawbone. A frenectomy is the removal of one of these folds of tissue.
Sometimes a frenum can be attached too high on the gums causing either recession or spaces between teeth. The procedure to remove this is a called labial frenectomy and involves the removal of tissue attachment between the two front teeth as the gap between the teeth can again pushed apart by the frenum, even after it being initially corrected via braces. A lingual frenectomy removes the fold of tissue under the tongue. Some people have a large frenum that limits tongue movement and can interfere with speech.
The condition of limited tongue mobility is called ankyloglossia, or tongue tie.
Interference with feeding in infants. Problems with speech at 12 to 18 months. Some older children or teenagers may notice that the frenum under their tongue becomes stuck between their front teeth, or that they can’t stick their tongue out as far as their friends can.
Adults receiving dentures may need a frenectomy if the position of a frenum (usually one between the cheek and gum in the back of the mouth, or in the middle of the upper or lower lip) will interfere with the proper fit of the denture. Before recommending a frenectomy in a child, a dentist will consider several factors, including the probability that the condition eventually will resolve itself without surgery.
If a child has tongue-tie, he or she will receive speech therapy first to see if that can correct the problem. The therapy will involve special exercises to increase the tongue’s mobility. The surgery itself takes very little time, and can be completed in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. A frenectomy is a simple procedure when performed correctly. Our patients rarely experience any complications from the procedure and it can often correct problems that have or could occur due to excess tissue.