What is a frenum?
A “frenum” is a natural part of your oral anatomy, comprised of a band of tissue that connects two areas of soft tissue in your mouth. You can see if you lift your upper lip in front of the mirror.
The main frenums in your mouth connect your upper lip to the gums between your upper two front teeth (called the labial frenum,) your lower lip to your lower gums between your lower two front teeth, as well as your tongue to the floor of your mouth (called the lingual frenum.) The band of tissue allows for adequate oral movement to encourage speech, chewing and eating. You may have heard the term “tongue tie,” which is another way of referring to a tight frenum underneath the tongue.
So, what’s the problem?
Difficulties arise when the frenum tissue is too short, thick or tight, pulling on the surrounding tissues and preventing oral movement. Some signs and symptoms of an inadequate frenum include speech impediment, inability to stick the tongue out, or a “scalloped” looking tongue, difficulty with swallowing, difficulty with biting and chewing, a space between the two front teeth and even gum recession.
Frenum cases can range from mild to severe.
In severe cases, tight frenums are typically noticed in infancy as it can lead to difficulty feeding. In mild to moderate cases, tight frenums may not be noticed/treated and can lead to problems into adulthood. A person may have just one or several tight frenums.
What is a frenectomy?
Thankfully, the treatment procedure for a tight frenum, called a frenectomy, is relatively easy and pain-free. Both labial and lingual frenums can be altered using the frenectomy procedure. A scalpel or a laser is used to cut back the tissue, releasing it to increase the mobility of the lips and tongue. Healing time, whether for infants, children, or adults, is minimal, with little to no pain.
Benefits of a frenectomy
Benefits of a frenectomy procedure include adequate mobility of the tongue, reduced susceptibility to gum recession, reduced speech and eating problems and improved quality of infant feeding.
If you have any questions about frenums or the frenectomy procedure, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.