Frenectomy Procedure

Frenectomy refers to the procedure that removes the connective tissue (called the frenum) at either the top or the bottom of the mouth, specifically under the tongue or the upper gums. We offer this procedure at our offices in Lynn, MA and Salem, MA.

What is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that involves the removal of one or both frena from the mouth. The frenum is the connective tissue membrane that attaches one surface within the mouth to another.

There are three functions of frena:

  1. The lingual frenum, which is the vertical band of thin tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth
  2. The labial frenum, which is the connective webbing that attaches the lips to the gums above the top two front teeth and below the bottom two front teeth
  3. The buccal frena, which is the three strands of tissue that connect the gums to the insides of the cheeks

 

dentist looking in a child's open mouth

How do I Know if My Child Needs a Frenectomy?

There are several signs that a frenectomy may be needed. In infants, this condition would make it difficult to nurse, breastfeed or feed from a bottle. In toddler age children, the child may experience difficulty speaking because they can’t extend their tongue as other kids can. In extreme cases it may cause difficulty when swallowing.

Extended maxillary labial frenum could cause orthodontic problems and interfere with the proper growth and spacing of the upper two front teeth, often leaving a gap between these teeth.

Every infant or child that comes in for a consultation will have ample time to review symptoms in detail with the doctor. We want to make sure that the procedure is recommended and that the patient will benefit from it. There are patients that we recommend against the procedure after a consultation.

If you suspect your child may need a frenectomy or have any questions about frenectomies, call our offices.

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What Issues Can a Frenectomy Fix?

A frenectomy can help with a number of issues that young children and toddlers can face, such as:

  • Breastfeeding issues. A frenectomy can help infants have the correct mouth and tongue position when breastfeeding. This allows the infant to feed easily and painlessly.
  • Feeding issues. Children who receive frenectomies often have functional improvements with eating, and often are able to eat faster.
  • Breathing/airway issues. When the tongue is restricted, it can adopt a lowered posture, which can alter palate development and growth of the lower jaw. These can result in a smaller airway which is more prone to collapse during sleep.
  • Speech issues. Freeing up the tongue and lips makes speech easier and more natural for children.

Frenectomy Procedure

There are two types of frenectomies commonly performed, a lingual frenectomy and a maxillary frenectomy. Instead of using scissors or a scalpel, we use a CO2 laser called a LightScalpel. This makes the procedure quick with minimal to no bleeding. Depending on the age of the child, we may use a topical anesthetic or Novocaine to numb the area to help with immediate discomfort. It takes less than 15 minutes to perform and recovery takes approximately 2 weeks.

Lingual Frenectomy

A lingual frenectomy involves removing the tissue connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Lingual frenectomies are commonly used to correct a condition called Ankyloglossia, otherwise known as tongue-tie. Tongue-tie is usually related to a short, thick frenum, which limits the tongue’s capacity to move.

Ankyloglossia can make it difficult for infants to breastfeed. It can also impact speech and eating in children and adults. Patients often try to compensate for the lack of tongue mobility by changing their jaw position – resulting in other orthodontic issues.

Maxillary Frenectomy

A maxillary frenectomy involves removing the piece of tissue connecting the upper gums to the front teeth – commonly referred to as a lip-tie. Everyone has this tissue, but most issues arise when the tissue is excessively large or tight in infants. Newborns who cannot flare or curl out their lips have problems latching onto the breast while breastfeeding.

In older children and adults, a large frenum can also push the front teeth apart, creating a gap between them and necessitating orthodontic treatment once permanent teeth come in.

Read More About Frenectomy Procedures

Frenectomy Procedure Cost

Broad Smiles Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is committed to providing affordable care to all of its patients. The price of the procedure is listed below, but please note that the cost can slightly vary depending on the needs of each patient.

Cost Per Arch: $580

Consultation Fee: $125

If procedure is completed the same day as the consultation, the consultation fee is waived. Out of pocket cost for any procedure depends on your insurance coverage at the time of procedure.

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child high fiving a dentist

Frenectomy Procedure Aftercare

In most cases, we recommend 3 weeks of stretching be done by the parents to allow for optimal healing of the area. We will give you instructions on how to complete these stretches. Your child may benefit from Tylenol or Motrin for the first few days after the procedure. You will have two follow up visits after; one week and three weeks post procedure. You may also have a Zoom call with Dr. Park to review the healing and stretches a few days after.

Within the first week, we expect about 50% of the healing to take place. In the following two weeks, when we do our three week follow up, we expect that the site will be 90% healed.

 

Meet Your Frenectomy Specialist

Dr. Hubert Park, Dentist at Broad Smiles Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

Dr. Hubert Park

Dr. Hubert Park has completed TUFTS Dental Pediatric Sleep Medicine mini-residency and ALSC (American Laser Study Club) Breathe & Thrive Symposium. Additionally, Dr. Park has completed laser courses, tongue-tie courses, and direct training with Dr. Marty Kaplan.

A Kid-Friendly Dental Experience

We specialize in providing first-class dental care to children of all ages. What's more, we are parents too! Therefore, we understand the busy lives of families and have created an experience to make your dental visits simpler. Learn more about our services or schedule an appointment today.