Parents can be apprehensive when a frenectomy is recommended for their child. Their first question is usually: “is there an option other than surgery?” We confidently explain that there is no reason to be fearful—we perform this simple procedure often at our Mentor and Concord offices.
What is a frenectomy?
A frenectomy removes one or more frena in the mouth. Frena are the connective tissues (three in total) between the gums and lips. One frenum also connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. It’s generally considered a cosmetic procedure, with practical benefits that help minimize oral developmental issues.
This type of surgery is best completed sooner rather than later—that’s why most frenectomy patients are children, teens and even infants. The longer you wait to take action, the more likely your child is to develop oral health concerns like gum recession. If they show signs of a speech impediment, it’s also crucial to explore the benefits of a frenectomy early, so they can work with a speech pathologist to correct their pronunciation.
Aside from health concerns, a frenectomy can also be purely cosmetic to alter your child’s smile.
Symptoms that require a frenectomy
Your child’s symptoms will vary depending on which frena is causing a problem and its severity level. A speech impediment, otherwise known as being tongue tied, means the lingual frenum (located under the tongue) is too short. A short lingual frenum may also limit chewing.
The maxillary and mandibular labial frena are located next to the front teeth on the top and bottom jaw. When these are too tight, they cause gapped teeth and may pull back the upper lip. When the mouth doesn’t close all the way, this leads to open mouth breathing and other improper breathing developments.
Other symptoms include inflamed gums or pain in the jaw. Gum recession is particularly concerning because this exposes the roots of your child’s teeth. In severe cases, gum recession leads to painful tearing.
Under local anesthesia or sedation (patient dependent), a frenectomy is performed with a scalpel. We will close the wound with dissolvable stitches that heal within two weeks. Your Fioritto Family dentist will consult with you about the right approach!
The surgery lasts only a few minutes, and is one of the least invasive oral procedures available. Once the frenectomy is complete, your child is free to return home and continue their normal routine right away.
Don’t fear a frenectomy!
A frenectomy is very minor, and yields great results by preventing your child from enduring oral health complications for the rest of their life. Monitor your children to see if they exhibit symptoms of an improper frenum, including a speech impediment or developmental troubles requiring a speech pathologist.
Not sure if your child requires a frenectomy? Schedule and appointment today. We’ll discuss the prospect of a frenectomy with you, and help you understand how it can help your child!