Reviewed by Dr. Benjamin Foley, DDS

Lip and tongue ties are common conditions that affect children and adults. In our previous blogs in this series, we explained the condition and the impact these conditions have on breastfeeding, oral health, and overall well-being.

In the third blog of our series, we will explain the frenectomy procedure, a surgical option for treating lip and tongue ties.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

A frenectomy is a safe and effective surgical procedure that can resolve lip and tongue ties, improving oral health and overall well-being. There are different approaches to the surgery, including traditional and laser frenectomy techniques. Recovery time is relatively short, and potential risks are minimal when performed by an experienced oral surgeon.

What is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a surgical procedure aimed at correcting lip, cheek and tongue ties caused by a tight band of tissue (frenulum) connecting these areas to the mouth’s gums and jawbone. 

The procedure involves releasing or removing this connective tissue, allowing for proper movement and function.

Types of Frenectomy Procedures

There are several techniques oral surgeons use to perform a frenectomy, each with its benefits and considerations.

Lingual Frenectomy

The lingual frenectomy procedure addresses tongue ties by cutting through the restrictive lingual frenum. It can be done using traditional surgical scissors or a scalpel. 

Labial Frenectomy

Similar to the treatment for tongue ties, the labial frenectomy targets the labial frenum (lip tie), often to improve the fit of dentures in adults or to aid in orthodontic treatments in children. 

Buccal Frenectomy

The buccal frenectomy addresses cheek ties, which can cause issues with cheek mobility, gingival health around teeth and implants and speech, as well as contribute to tooth decay. The procedure involves releasing the tight tissue connecting the cheeks to the gums.

The Step-by-Step Frenectomy Procedure

While the specifics can vary depending on the type of frenectomy and the method chosen, a typical frenectomy involves the following steps:

Before the Surgery

  1. Assessment by a dentist or pediatrician: If it is determined that a frenectomy is needed, they will refer you to an oral surgeon for the procedure. If you would like to be referred to our practice, have your dentist or doctor complete our referral form.
  2. Consultation with the oral surgeon:  At your initial consultation, your surgeon will perform a physical examination and discuss your medical history. They will discuss the details of the procedure with you and go over aftercare instructions. An appointment for surgery will be scheduled, and you will be given instructions about preparing for the surgery.

Day of Surgery

  1. Anesthesia: Depending on the age and preference of the patient, either local, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or IV sedation will be administered to numb the area for a painless experience.
  2. Frenectomy surgery: Using either traditional surgical scissors or a scalpel, the oral surgeon will make an incision to release the frenum’s attachment.
  3. Closure of the wound: In most cases, dissolvable stitches are used.

Recovery and Aftercare

The recovery time from a frenectomy is relatively short, with most patients resuming normal activities within a few days.

Aftercare typically involves pain management with prescribed or over-the-counter medication and gentle oral hygiene practices to prevent infection. We will discuss recovery and aftercare in detail in our fourth and final blog of this series. 

Potential Risks and Complications

While a frenectomy is considered a safe and quick procedure, as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks

These can include excessive bleeding and infection. However, when performed by an experienced oral surgeon, and with proper post-operative care, these risks are minimal.

Foley & Le – Oral Surgeon in Boulder, CO

At Foley & Le Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, we have years of experience performing frenectomies for patients of all ages. Our state-of-the-art facility and skilled surgeons ensure a safe and comfortable experience for every patient.

We hope this blog has helped you understand the frenectomy procedure. If you or your child are experiencing symptoms of a lip or tongue tie, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Early detection and treatment can make all the difference in improving oral health and overall well-being.

Call (303) 444-2255 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form. If you are searching for an ‘oral surgeon near me,’ or ‘frenectomy near me,’ trust Foley & Le Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

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