A frenulum is a thin band of tissue that connects your upper and lower lip to your gums (labial frenulum) or your tongue to the bottom of your mouth (lingual frenulum). Unless functionality is impaired or pain is involved, the frenulum can remain intact. However, when either of these are malformed they can cause oral health problems.
Luckily, this is easily remedied with a simple procedure called a frenectomy. Through this virtually painless procedure, usually done with lasers, the frenulum tissue is loosened or removed. Recovery time is usually quite quick, and it doesn’t impact future function of the gums, lips, or tongue. Generally, a frenectomy can be performed on patients aged seven and up.
An overly wide labial frenulum can result in the development of a gap between front teeth. Therefore, your orthodontist or general dentist may recommend a labial frenectomy to assist in the closing of the gap. In other cases, the frenulum is too thin and too close to the teeth. This can cause gum recession from the frenulum pulling the gums away from the bone. A labial frenectomy can help stop and even reverse recession.
Denture wearers may also benefit from the procedure. When the lips move, the frenulum pulls and retracts, and this movement can loosen dentures. Removing it can help dentures fit more securely and comfortably.
Frenulum tissue also exists under the tongue, connecting it to floor of the mouth. When the frenulum is too short or thick, it can prevent tongue movement, leading to strained speech. This condition is called Anklyoglossia, commonly referred to as being “tongue tied.”
Anklyoglossia can make breastfeeding difficult for infants and impact the ability to eat in children and adults as well. These issues can be alleviated with a lingual frenectomy to lengthen or remove the lingual frenulum.
To make an appointment or learn more about our team approach to patient care, please contact us at our Fayetteville oral surgery & implant dentistry office.