Frenectomy Procedure

The mouth has many pieces that all work together to function correctly. Every bone, tooth, and tissue has a role in performing different tasks such as eating and speaking. When these pieces are not working correctly, it can cause problems. 

At Foley and Le Oral Surgery, we take oral health seriously. We understand that every patient has unique needs. From simple procedures to complex surgery, our team is ready to help in any way you need. If you need a frenectomy consultation or oral surgery in Boulder, CO, Louisville, CO, Lafayette, CO, Longmont, CO, or Broomfield, CO, we can help. Call (303) 444-2255 to schedule a consultation.

What Is a Frenum?

A frenum is a tiny fold of oral tissue or membrane that connects more mobile elements of the mouth, such as the lips, cheeks, and tongue, to more fixed components like the jaw and gums. It helps keep the teeth in place and supports the lips and tongue. 

There are three types of frenum in the mouth:

  • Labial Frenum: This frenum connects the middle of the upper lip to the gums. The labial frenum is a tissue that joins the top lip to the maxilla or upper jaw. If the frenum is excessively large, it may obstruct an orthodontist’s ability to move teeth into alignment. In some cases, an untreated labial frenum may result in other problems such as the resorption or dissolving of the bone in this area or create a gap between the two front teeth that cannot be closed (diastema). In these cases, a labial or maxillary frenectomy is done.
  • Lingual Frenum: This frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. When the lingual frenum is too large, it may impair the patient’s speech, restrict the movement of the tongue and cause possible airway issues. This condition is sometimes known as being tongue-tied.
  • Buccal Frenum: This frenum connects the inside of the cheek to the gums.

When Is a Frenectomy Required?

A frenectomy is a procedure to remove or modify a frenum. The procedure may be recommended if the frenum is too short or too close to the teeth and is causing problems with eating and speaking. 

A frenectomy may also be recommended if the frenum is causing gum recession or if it is preventing the teeth from coming together correctly. In many cases, an orthodontist will refer a patient to the oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a labial frenectomy. If the procedure is not done, the bone between these teeth can sometimes fail to form or dissolve away.

A lingual frenectomy allows for normal tongue mobility. If untreated, restricted tongue function can lead to a change of tooth position, jaw development issues, and even speech difficulties.

Before Surgery

At your initial consultation, the oral surgeon will review your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and evaluate any relevant x-rays or pictures. An appointment for surgery will be scheduled, and you will be given instructions about preparing for the surgery. If you have any questions or concerns about the procedure, be sure to ask your surgeon at this time.

The Procedure

A frenectomy is typically a very quick and easy procedure that can be done in the office with either local anesthesia or IV sedation. The surgeon will make a small incision in the tissue and remove any excess tissue and muscular attachment. Frequently, dissolvable sutures will be used.

Important things to remember:

  • It is important that the mouth be clean and free of infection before the procedure is performed.
  • It’s possible that sedation may be needed, especially if the child is young. This will be discussed at the consultation. 
  • Food and drink restrictions may be imposed before surgery, so ask the surgeon before your procedure.
  • Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes.

After the Procedure

The surgeon will provide postoperative instructions following the procedure. It is important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure proper healing. In most cases, the mouth will be sore for a few days after surgery. Pain medication may be prescribed to help manage any discomfort. Alternatively, Exparel may be used in patients who would like to manage their discomfort without using narcotics/opioids. You will be advised to eat soft foods and avoid crunchy or sharp foods, hot drinks, and alcohol for the first few days. Gentle brushing and rinsing with salt water will help keep the area clean. It is important to avoid mouthwashes with alcohol as this can irritate the healing tissue.

Benefits of a Frenectomy

Frenectomies have many benefits, such as:

  • Improving the alignment of teeth
  • Improving speech
  • Reducing gum recession
  • Reducing the risk of tooth loss
  • Improving the function of the tongue
  • Improving the appearance of the mouth

The Best Oral Surgeons In Boulder

Frenectomies are a relatively simple and quick procedure that can profoundly impact the function and appearance of the mouth. If you are experiencing any problems with your frenum, be sure to talk to your oral surgeon about whether or not a frenectomy is right for you. 

Our highly skilled oral surgeons have extensive experience performing frenectomies and can help you achieve the desired results. Contact us today at (303) 444-2255 to schedule a consultation. We are here for you if you are searching for an oral surgeon in Boulder, CO, Louisville, CO, Lafayette, CO, Longmont, CO, or Broomfield, CO. We are located at 1420 28th Street, Suite 100, Boulder, CO.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is frenectomy covered by insurance?

The answer to this question may vary depending on your insurance plan. In some cases, the procedure may be considered medically necessary and therefore covered. However, it is always best to check with your insurance provider.

How long does the procedure take?

Frenectomies are typically very quick procedures that can be done in just a few minutes.

What are the risks associated with frenectomy?

As with any surgical procedure, there is always a small risk of complication. These may include bleeding, infection, and reactions to anesthesia. Be sure to talk to your oral surgeon about any concerns before the procedure. 

Does a frenectomy affect speech?

In some cases, a frenectomy may improve speech. However, this will vary on an individual basis and the type and location of frenectomy being performed.

Can you smoke after a frenectomy?

It is important to avoid smoking or using any tobacco products for at least 4 weeks after surgery. This will help to reduce the risk of complications such as infection.

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