A frenectomy is a straightforward procedure that involves the removal of a frenum located in the mouth.
A frenum refers to a muscular attachment between two tissues. Within the oral cavity, there are two frena (plural of frenum) that can occasionally impede normal function and may require frenectomies.
These frena are known as the lingual frenum, which connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, and the maxillary labial frenum, which connects the inner side of the upper lip to the gums just above the upper two front teeth.
What Is A Frenum?
A frenum is a soft, fleshy piece of tissue composed of elastic and striated muscle fibers. Frena, the plural form of frenum, are present in various areas of the mouth, including the top, bottom, sides, and underneath the tongue. These frena play a crucial role in securing the movement of mobile organs within the oral cavity.
The main function of frena is to support proper swallowing, speech, and overall mouth movement. They serve as muscle-to-organ attachments, ensuring coordinated and efficient oral functions. It is important to note that not all frena are identical, as they can vary in length and thickness among individuals.
In the oral cavity, there are two primary frena: the lingual frenum and the labial frenum.
- Lingual Frenum: The lingual frenum is located underneath the tongue and connects it to the floor of the mouth. It helps to stabilize the tongue’s movement and position.
- Labial Frenum: The labial frenum is found in the area between the inside of the upper lip and the gums, just above the upper two front teeth. It attaches the lip to the underlying gum tissue.
When Is A Frenectomy Recommended?
While frena are a normal part of the oral anatomy, there are instances where they can pose problems due to being excessively tight, thick, or long.
When a frenum hampers normal oral function or leads to issues such as speech difficulties, gum recession, tooth gaps, or orthodontic challenges, a frenectomy procedure might be suggested as a solution.
Frenectomy Ruined My Smile
If you’ve been recommended a frenectomy by your doctor, you likely have many questions and concerns. One common worry is whether a frenectomy will ruin your smile.
However, it’s important to understand that a frenectomy is actually intended to improve your smile. An oversized frenum can cause gum recession and create gaps between your teeth, which may impact your confidence in your appearance.
By removing the abnormal frenum through a frenectomy and combining it with orthodontic treatment like braces, you can close the gaps and achieve a beautiful smile that boosts your self-assurance.
Another concern you may have is whether a frenectomy can cause a gummy smile. It’s important to note that a frenectomy does not cause a gummy smile. A gummy smile occurs when there is excess gum tissue covering the teeth, whereas a frenectomy focuses on removing the soft tissue between the front teeth. If you have a gummy smile, there are separate treatments available to address it, which you can discuss with your dentist. So, there’s no need to worry that a frenectomy will hinder your ability to smile.
You may also wonder if a labial frenectomy will change your smile’s appearance. It’s understandable to be concerned about removing tissue from your mouth and how it may affect your smile’s look. However, the tissue removed during a frenectomy is excess tissue that hampers the normal development of teeth. Removing it will not have any adverse effects on your smile or other oral functions.
Concerns about sagging of the upper lip after an upper lip frenectomy may also arise. While it is true that the upper lip may temporarily droop after the procedure, this is usually a short-term issue that resolves within a few days with the help of medications. The tight frenum pulls the lip upwards, and when it is removed, the upper lip may experience some temporary sagging. However, this problem typically subsides as healing progresses.
Similar reasons lead to lower lip frenectomy, which is recommended when the frenum interferes with teeth alignment or causes gum recession. Rest assured that a lower lip frenectomy does not impact your smile.
As for the healing process after a frenectomy, it usually takes around 4-6 weeks to complete. Laser frenectomy tends to have a shorter recovery time, often healing completely within two weeks. During the healing period, maintaining oral hygiene by rinsing with warm salt water is essential.
You may experience pain, swelling, and slight bleeding at the site of the procedure, but these symptoms are normal and can be managed with pain-killers prescribed by your dentist or doctor. If bleeding becomes uncontrollable, it is advisable to consult your doctor.
What Are The Risks Or Complications Of A Frenectomy?
Like any medical procedure, a frenectomy carries potential risks and complications. Some of the risks associated with frenectomy surgery are:
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia.
- Injury to salivary ducts that drain near the tongue-tie.
- Reattachment of frenum (rare).
How Painful Is A Frenectomy?
The pain experienced during a frenectomy procedure can differ from one person to another. Overall, a frenectomy is typically classified as a minor surgical procedure and is usually well-tolerated by patients.
By understanding these aspects and following proper post-operative care, you can alleviate concerns and facilitate a smooth healing process after a frenectomy.