What is a frenectomy?
In the mouth, there are bands of muscle tissue known as frenums, and their main role is to prohibit the movement of the organ they’re connected to. However, if your frenum is too short or too thick, it can interfere with your speech, limit the mobility of your tongue and cause issues with tooth alignment. When this occurs, we may recommend a laser frenectomy to remove or loosen the muscle tissue.
A frenectomy may be necessary if:
- Your infant has difficulty breastfeeding.
- Your child has trouble speaking at around 12 to 18 months old.
- Your teen notices that their frenum gets stuck in between their teeth.
- Your child can’t stick his or her tongue out as far as other kids in the same age group.
- You are receiving dentures for the first time, and your frenum interferes with the fit.
- The frenum is causing pain, or contributing to eating, speaking and swallowing difficulties.
Types of frenectomies
There are three different frenums in the mouth, and thus there are three types of frenectomies that our Northridge & Woodland Hills patients may require. For example, in many cases, the frenum that connects the upper lip to the gum can cause or worsen a gap in between the two front teeth. Or, a large frenum in the lower jaw may cause the gum tissue to pull away from the front teeth, allowing food and bacteria to gather in the area and ultimately leading to gum disease. And finally, if the frenum that attaches the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too prominent, it can restrict the tongue’s movement and lead to speaking and eating challenges among children. In all of these cases, a laser frenectomy would be necessary to reduce the size of the overly prominent frenum and ensure all of the components of your mouth are able to function optimally.