A frenum is a small attachment of soft tissue that connects two areas of the mouth. The main locations of the frenum are:
- The tongue to the floor of the mouth.
- The lower lip to the lower jaw.
- The upper lip to the upper jaw.
You can view these small tissue patches if you pull your lips out of the way or look underneath your tongue. The frenum under your tongue is called a lingual frenum, and the frenum connecting your lips is called the labial frenum. If these tissues are too large or thick, they can contribute to oral problems and must be addressed.
Oral conditions associated with large frenum
- Speech impediment and difficulty pronouncing certain words and sounds
- Difficulty swallowing
- A gap between the upper or lower two front teeth
- Recession of the gum tissue near the attachment of the frenum
- Thin or inadequate gum tissue near the attachment of the frenum
- Snoring and mouth breathing
- Inability to extend the tongue
A frenectomy is performed when the frenum tissue needs to be cut to prevent pulling on other tissues. It reduces the adverse effects of a large frenum. Frenectomies are recommended in childhood when a large frenum is detected. Frenectomies are usually performed for the “lingual frenum” to prevent a tongue-tie condition and help with the child’s speech. A frenectomy will also be recommended for adults of any age when ill effects of a frenum are noted.
The frenectomy procedure is relatively easy, quick and straightforward. The process is performed under local anesthetic and the recovery time is just a day or two. The procedure may be slightly more complicated if the patient is young and it is to correct the lingual frenum. Some stitches may or may not need to be placed at the frenectomy site.
If you believe you or your child may have a large or tight frenum and may benefit from a frenectomy, or if you have any questions about the procedure, we encourage you to contact us to book an appointment.