A frenectomy (also known as a frenuloplasty, frenulectomy, frenulotomy or frenotomy) is the removal of a frenulum, which are soft tissues attached to the muscles of the cheeks and lips.
When an upper frenum is attached too high on the gums, it can causing recession or spaces between teeth and when a lower frenum is attached too close to the end of the tongue, it can cause speech impediments. This is sometimes referred to as being “tongue-tied” or as “ankyloglossia”.
"A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure where either part or all of the frenum in question is clipped or removed in order to restore a healthy balance to the mouth. There are two ways to do this: a local anesthetic and a surgical incision or with the use of a special dental laser."
—Dr. Ted Reese
A soft-tissue/diode laser is used for soft tissue or gum tissue needs such as in the case of the frenum. It can replace the need for scalpels and incisions which allows for a more controlled healing response and surgical correction. Read more benefits of laser dentistry.
A child with shortened connections between the tongue and floor of the mouth will most likely experience several difficulties in breastfeeding. This can range from poor latch to sore nipples to continual feeding cycles. Several studies have been conducted and proved to show an improvement in breastfeeding once a frenectomy was performed on the infant. This simple surgery takes less than five minutes and causes little to no pain or complications thereafter. Read more about the studies involved and post-op care for the child.
The procedure is usually performed with a local anesthetic and can involve either clipping or the use of a special laser, which causes little or no bleeding because the laser seals the ends of the blood vessels in the area as it cuts. The laser also will seal nerve endings, reducing pain after the procedure. However, laser treatment does take longer than simply anesthetizing and clipping so patients will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis with the mother to ensure the best treatment for the child. There is also a private waiting room in the back of our office for you and your family to wait and nurse in private if you prefer to do that before or after the procedure.