There are times when the team at our dental office in Columbia may recommend a frenectomy for a patient. But we understand that many patients aren't exactly sure what a frenectomy is and why one may be needed. So we’d like to cover the basics to help all of our patients stay properly informed.
A Little About Anatomy
Before we can dive into the treatment itself, we need to talk a bit about the mouth’s anatomy. The mouth has two thin muscular attachments called frenum that can inhibit normal function of the mouth. One of these is the tight muscle found under the tongue that connects the tongue to the lower part of the mouth (called the lingual frenum). The other connects the top lip to the gum tissue above the top teeth (called the maxillary labial frenum). When either one of these effects tongue function or proper tooth placement, a frenectomy may be appropriate.
What’s a Frenectomy?
Simply put, a frenectomy is the removal or shortening of a frenum. A frenectomy is usually recommended if the frenum is clearly causing pain or hindering proper function.
Why Are Frenectomies Important?
The benefits behind a frenectomy depends on which frenum needs treatment.
Lingual Frenum Frenectomy
When the lingual frenum is too long and extends to the tip of the tongue, it can directly affect tongue function. Most common in children, a lingual frenum frenectomy can help restore proper tongue function and can make swallowing, eating, and talking easier.
Maxillary Labial Frenum Frenectomy
A large maxillary labial frenum or one that attaches close to the teeth can create a gap in between the two front teeth. Occasionally this type of frenectomy is recommended by your Columbia dentist following orthodontic treatment that initially closed the gap but has since reopened.
How is a Frenectomy Performed?
We understand that the procedure may sound scary, but it’s actually quite simple. Treatment always begins by numbing the area. Then the frenum is cut away from the either the floor of the mouth or the gum line. Following a few stitches, the treatment is complete. Depending on the technology offered by your dental office, a laser may also be used.
If you have more questions, we welcome you to call our Columbia dental office. We’re always happy to help.
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