Our bodies contain connective tissue that help to keep bones, muscles and joints aligned. Similarly, important connective tissue in the mouth called frena, help to keep soft tissue aligned with the jaw.
The mouth contains three frena: The maxillary labial frenum is a band of tissue that connects the upper lip to the area just above the upper two front teeth, while the mandibular labial frenum connects the lower lip to the area just below the lower two front teeth. Finally, the lingual frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
In some cases, prominent frena can adversely affect one’s smile, or may become inflamed and cause pain. In such cases, the dentists at Fioritto Family Dental may recommend a procedure called a frenectomy to minimize symptoms and/or correct cosmetic issues. What is a frenectomy and why is it necessary?
What is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy involves the repositioning or removal of a frenum. There are several ways to perform a frenectomy and they include a surgical incision with a scalpel, electrosurgery or laser surgery. The manner in which a frenectomy is performed depends on the patient’s specific issue, a dentist’s preference, and/or patient preference.
During the procedure, the patient will receive local anesthesia, after which the frenal attachment will be removed or repositioned to reduce tension and restriction on other tissue. Dissolvable stitches may be placed to promote healing. The stiches may take several days to a couple of weeks to dissolve. Frenectomy procedures can be performed on patients as young as a few weeks after birth.
Reasons for Frenectomy
The size and relative elasticity or mobility of frena vary from one patient to the next. In some cases, one or more of the frena may be oversized, causing painful inflammation of the gums or lead to gaps in the front teeth. Once the fena has been removed, orthodontic braces or invisible aligner trays can be used to close the gaps.
In other cases, frena can be too short or tight, restrict movement and cause pain. If this occurs in the maxillary labial frenum or mandibular labial frenum, tension on the connective tissue could draw gum tissue away from teeth, exposing roots, pull the lip, or even lead to painful tearing. A restricted lingual frenum can create a speech impediment (sometimes referred to as a tongue-tie) or cause difficulty chewing.
What to Expect
Repositioning or even removing frena will not reduce function in any way. A frenectomy is designed to increase function and improve appearance when one or more frena restrict movement, impact oral health, or affect the smile. A frenectomy will significantly improve all of these issues.
If you have pain, restricted movement, or cosmetic concerns related to the frena, contact Fioritto Family Dental at 440-951-5511. You can also reach out to us via email or our online form.