Winchester, VA 540-628-8533

Frenectomy

The frenum is a small fold of tissue found in three places in the mouth: under the tongue (lingual frenum) and descending from the center of the upper and lower lip (labial frenum). In some cases, these frena can impair the normal function of the mouth and require removal, also called a frenectomy.

Lingual frenectomy: The lingual frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If the lingual frenum extends too far toward the tip of the tongue, tongue mobility is limited, causing difficulties with speech, eating and swallowing. This is common in young children and is treatable via lingual frenectomy.


During this procedure, the doctor will numb your child’s tongue with anesthetic, then make a small incision to free the tongue from the floor of the mouth. Once that cut tissue is sewn and has healed, normal function will return to the child’s tongue. This usually takes only a couple of days; in the meantime, the child will be able to use the tongue normally, albeit with some discomfort. Infants who have a frenectomy generally recuperate more quickly and with less discomfort.

Labial frenectomy:The labial frenum, the bit of tissue that joins the upper and lower lips to the front gums, can sometimes cause gaps between your child’s front teeth and misalignment throughout the mouth. In general, Dr. Gibson won’t perform a labial frenectomy until a child’s upper permanent teeth have come in; growth of the permanent teeth will often close the gap on its own. Braces can be an alternative to, or used in tandem with, a labial frenectomy.

 


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