What is a frenum?
A frenum is a fold of tissue in the mouth that secures or restricts motion of the lip or tongue.
What is a frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that removes one of these folds from the lip or tongue. The surgery is a common dental procedure performed on both child and adults, which may be performed with a traditional blade or with a laser. The laser method induces much less bleeding, reduces the need for stitches, minimizes post-operative discomfort, and promotes a faster recovery time.
A soft tissue laser does not cut the tissue, but rath uses light energy to produce a “vaporization” effect. There is little discomfort and almost no bleeding during the laser procedure. The laser sterilizes at touch, decreasing the risk of infection, and the actual procedure can typically be completed in just minutes.
When is a frenectomy needed?
The frenum that connects the inside of the upper lip to the gums above the front teeth, when very thick or tight, may interfere with latching in breastfeeding infants, can prevent teeth from erupting, create a need for orthodontics, or prevent a person from fully smiling. A tight frenum between the tongue and the floor of the mouth, commonly referred to as “tongue tied”, may also cause difficulty in breast and bottle feeding and can cause speech issues or pain. Less often, a frenum inside the lower lip, can pull the gums away from the front teeth, leading to gum disease and loss of permanent teeth.
Adults wear full dentures may require a frenectomy if one or more frena prevents a denture from seating properly.
How do patients recover from a frenectomy?
A laser frenectomy generally heals quickly with little to no pain. Your doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory drug (ibuprofen) after the procedure, and instruct the use of Vaseline or Vitamin E to facilitate healing.
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