Have you heard of a frenectomy? If not, you’re not alone. This dental procedure has been around for some time but is still relatively unknown. A frenectomy is a simple procedure designed to remove or loosen the tissue that connects your gums and lips to your teeth. The goal of the procedure is to improve the health and appearance of your smile. Let’s take a closer look at this dental surgery to understand why a frenectomy may be needed.

What Does a Frenectomy Involve?

A frenectomy involves removing the connective tissue in your mouth, known as a frenum, which connects your gums and lips to your teeth. The primary frena in the mouth are:

  • Labial frenum: This connects the inner part of your upper lip to your gums.
  • Lingual frenum: This connects the underside of your tongue to the floor of your mouth.
  • Buccal frenum: This connects the inside of your cheek to your gums.

This tissue can cause problems if it extends too far into the mouth, as it can impede normal oral functions such as speaking or eating. In some cases, the frenulum can even cause misalignment of teeth or gum recession. 

During a frenectomy, an oral surgeon will make an incision in the tissue connecting to your teeth and then either cut away or stretch the remaining tissue so that it no longer restricts movement of your upper lip or tongue. 

When Is It Needed?

A frenectomy is often recommended if you have the following:

  • An overgrowth of the frenulum tissue causes speech issues due to restricted tongue movement. 
  • Gaps between your front teeth are caused by excessive tension on either side.
  • Gingival (gum) recession along one side due to tension from an overgrown frenulum.

If the labial frenulum is too short, it restricts the mouth from closing correctly and results in open-mouth breathing. This posture prevents the development of nose breathing in children and can lead to gum recession.

Some parents opt for a maxillary frenectomy (labial frenectomy) in their newborn if they have an overgrowth of their labial frenum (frenulum) that makes it difficult for them to breastfeed.

A tongue tie (also known as ankyloglossia) can cause difficulty eating, speaking, and even breathing properly. In this case, a tongue-tie release—or lingual frenectomy—can loosen up the tongue’s movement enough for normal speech and eating patterns.

The Procedure

A frenectomy procedure is a minimally invasive dental procedure that an experienced oral surgeon can perform in-office. It is a quick procedure that typically takes 15 to 30 minutes and begins. A topical numbing agent is applied to the area near the frenum before it is cut and removed using either a scalpel or soft tissue laser.

Recovery After Surgery

After a frenectomy, you may experience discomfort and swelling in your mouth that can last anywhere from several days to weeks, depending on how extensive the surgery was. Your dentist may recommend using ice packs placed outside your mouth near the area of surgery to help reduce swelling and pain during the healing process. 

Stick to soft foods like yogurt or mashed potatoes while your mouth heals, as hard foods can cause further irritation and aggravation of surgical sites. It is also important to avoid strenuous activities during recovery so that your mouth has ample time to heal properly before returning to normal activities like sports or exercise programs.

Oral Surgery With the Best Oral Surgeons in Arizona

A frenectomy is a relatively simple surgical procedure that can offer many benefits for adults and children who suffer from overgrown frenulum tissues in their mouths. If you’re experiencing any issues related to abnormal growth of these tissues, be sure to consult with an oral surgeon at AZ Max about whether this type of oral surgery could help improve your smile’s health and appearance. There’s no need to live with the discomfort associated with overly tight tissues when help is only an appointment away!

Our oral surgeons at AZ Max are uniquely qualified to perform frenectomies and many other oral surgery procedures. If you are searching for oral surgeon Mesa, AZ, Tempe, Show Low, and Queen Creek, or an oral surgeon near me, we are here for you. To book an appointment with a surgeon at any of our 5 locations, call (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form.