Most of us have what is called a frenum, or frenulum. A frenum is a muscular tissue found between your teeth, lip, and underneath your tongue. The frenum that is more commonly seen to cause issues is the lingual frenum.
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. Having a frenum reduced 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
- Gets caught between the upper front teeth and causes a gap
- May pull gums away from the teeth, causing receding gums, and make the gums susceptible to infection and bone or tooth loss
- Can expand the space between teeth, causing a gap
- May need to be removed 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 is connected all the way to the end of the tongue, also known as ‘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
The Frenectomy procedure can usually be completed in just as little as 30 minutes. The procedure is completed under local anesthetic, ensuring the patient is comfortable during their treatment. High-quality lasers are used to 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 results you desire.
What Is Being Tongue-Tied?
Being tongue-tied usually refers to a patient who 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 go back 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 are feeling any pain or discomfort, then over-the-counter pain medication containing ibuprofen may help.
How Do I Prepare For My Procedure?
Having a thorough consultation with Dr. Cain will determine whether frenectomy is right for you. Sometimes lingual frenum can be fixed with speech therapy. Depending on a number of factors, we will discuss what option is best suited for you.