Frenums and Frenectomy Procedure
The frenectomy procedure is a minor invasive surgery where frenulum, a connective tissue, is removed or sliced. Frenum, or frenulum, is tissue which under the tongue or on the upper lip that can inhibit your mouth’s movement. The complications that arise can lead to difficulty eating, smiling, or speaking.
Why is a frenectomy procedure necessary?
Frenum connections which inhibit the movement of the tongue or mouth will impact the life of the patient.
- Chewing- Frenum which impacts the ability to chew must be removed. If the patient is unable to chew, they cannot have a quality of life that is acceptable.
- Swallowing- Potentially more dangerous. If the patient cannot swallow, they are at a more serious risk for choking.
- Smiling- Patients may be less inclined to smile, or embarrassed by their smile. No one wants to go through life feeling self conscious. Self doubt about your smile has long term effects on your mental health and depression.
- Infants- If your young child has a congenital frenum disorder, they may have difficulty feeding or nursing. This can be detrimental to long term development. The sooner a frenectomy procedure is performed, the sooner your child can live life to the fullest, which is what all parents want.
What are the common conditions which are treated with a Frenectomy Procedure
- Ankyloglossia: Sometimes called “Tongue-tied” this disorder inhibits the tongue. The tongue may have a heart-shaped appearance. The frenum is short, which limits the movement of the most important muscle in your mouth.
- Lip-Tied: This is a disorder, usually in the upper front of the lip, wherein the frenum that connects lips to teeth is swollen or enlarged. This can cause problems chewing, eating, or keeping food in the mouth of the patient. Upon the emergence of permanent teeth, the frenum growth can cause a gap to form, moving teeth out of place.
What is the Frenectomy Procedure?
- The patient is selected for frenectomy, and consent is achieved with either the patient or the infant’s parents. Options are discussed, and care plan is established.
- The patient is given either local anesthetic, general anesthesia, or pain mitigation strategies are used.
- The frenum tissue which is causing the problem is isolated and an incision is made. Sometimes this is done with a laser, limiting bleeding.
- The frenum tissue is removed altogether, freeing the range of motion of the affected area.
- Stitches or sutures may be used to seal the surgical incision.
- The patient or the infant’s parents follow a precise care plan to keep the area clean and healthy. Proper hygiene must be followed to keep the tissue clean and free of infection. Infection can irritate the area and extend recovery time.
- A follow up should be scheduled to examine the area and assess recovery progress.
Begin by seeing your health care professional, or asking your child’s doctors about the issue. If a lingual or labial frenectomy is necessary for your child, the surgery will probably occur quickly. The sooner your child is able to feed and nurse, the sooner they can get back to growing and enjoying their life.