Most of us have a frenum, or frenulum. A frenum is a muscular tissue found between your teeth, lip, and underneath your tongue. The lingual frenum more commonly causes issues. The lingual frenum connects your tongue to the floor of your mouth. Some people are born with a lingual frenum that runs all the way up to the tip of their tongue, also known as a tongue tie.
Frenectomy in Knoxville, TN
Frenectomy is a relatively short, low-risk procedure that aims to remove unnecessary frenum from the mouth. Reducing the frenum in size for better oral health can happen at any age. It is only performed when the frenum causes problems in the mouth.
This procedure may be necessary when certain issues arise when the frenum:
- Prevents the tongue from moving freely
- Catches between the upper front teeth and causes a gap
- May pull gums away from the teeth, causing receding gums, and making the gums susceptible to infection and bone or tooth loss
- Can expand the space between teeth, causing a gap
- May need removal to ensure a quality fit for braces and dentures
There are two kinds of frenum:
The labial frenum refers to the muscle tissue that attaches the inside of the upper part of the lip to the gums between the two upper front teeth. The labial frenum can cause a gap between the two front teeth. However, if frenectomy isn’t enough to close the gap, then braces may need to be administered.
The lingual Frenum connects the bottom of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. The problem occurs when the frenum connects all the way to the end of the tongue. Another term is ‘tongue-tied.’ Problems that arise from a connected frenum or being ‘tongue-tied’:
- Pain in jaw
- Harder to brush and floss
- Difficulties eating and speaking properly
- Older patients may have difficulties keeping dentures in place
- Higher risk of inflamed or irritated gums
The Frenectomy Procedure
We can complete the frenectomy procedure in as little as 30 minutes. You complete the procedure under local anesthetic, ensuring the patient is comfortable during treatment. High-quality lasers precisely and accurately remove any unnecessary frenum, causing little to no bleeding or pain after the procedure.
Using lasers versus a scalpel causes minimal bleeding and discomfort. This will shorten the healing time with little chance of complications.
Post-op care is extremely important after a frenectomy. The most important thing you can do is keep your mouth as clean as possible. You may feel minimal discomfort as the operation site heals over the next few weeks. Most people report very little post-operative swelling or pain and resume normal function of their tongue and lips.
Some patients may not notice they just had surgery. The minimal discomfort or swelling should subside in about two to three days. You should still be able to eat normally. Following your post-op instructions will help promote proper healing and give you the desired results.
What Is Tongue-Tie?
A tongue-tie patient has difficulties eating or speaking properly due to an elongated Lingual Frenum. This causes the tongue to become restricted, making it difficult to eat or speak properly. A frenectomy may be necessary to return function to the mouth.
What Is The Recovery Time After Surgery?
Patients can usually return to regular activity if they aren’t sedated during the procedure. A recommended saltwater rinse or prescribed antibiotic mouthwash will help keep your mouth clean. In the days after your surgery, it is best to avoid acidic foods. If you feel pain or discomfort, over-the-counter pain medication containing ibuprofen may help.
How Do I Prepare For My Procedure?
A thorough consultation with Dr. Cain will determine whether frenectomy is right for you. Sometimes we can fix a lingual frenum with speech therapy. Depending on several factors, we will discuss the best option for you.