A frenectomy is the removal of a frenum in the mouth. A frenum is an attachment between two tissues. There are two frena in the mouth, the lingual frenum, which connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, and the maxillary labial frenum, which connects the inside of your upper lip to your gums just above your upper two front teeth. If the normal functions of these areas are restricted a frenectomy may be necessary to allow more movement or function.
The lingual frenum sometimes can attach all the way to the tip of the tongue, causing a person to be “tongue-tied.” This is shown in the photo below:
A restrictive lingual frenum is a common occurrence in young children. Normally, children are able to accommodate well to a prominent lingual frenum and can surprisingly eat and speak normally. If the attachment extends all the way to the tip of the tongue, then a frenectomy may be needed to give normal tongue function.
A lingual frenectomy is a simple procedure that involves numbing the tongue with an anesthetic. A small incision is then made which will free the tongue from the floor of the mouth. The incision then will be sewn up to allow the tissue to heal.
The maxillary labial frenum attaches the upper lip to the gums just above the upper two front teeth. This is shown in the photo below:
A labial frenectomy is a form of frenectomy performed on the lip.
The labial frenulum often attaches to the center of the upper lip and between the upper two front teeth. This can cause a large gap and gum recession by pulling the gums off the bone. A labial frenectomy removes the labial frenulum.
Orthodontic patients often have this procedure done to assist with closing a front tooth gap. When a denture patient's lips move, the frenulum pulls and loosens the denture which can be uncomfortable. This surgery is often done to help dentures fit better.
Labial frenectomy (of the lip) is very common with patients undergoing denture treatment in order to get the proper fit of dentures or patients who have tissues attached to the center of the upper lip and causing recession of gums or gap between the upper front teeth called central incisors.
The removal of the frenulum normally does not cause any adverse effects to the lip or mouth.