A frenum is a small band that connects two soft tissues in your mouth. For example, a frenum may connect the cheeks, gums, lips, or tongue. The presence of a frenum can hinder your bite, make it more difficult to talk, or simply cause pain and discomfort. The Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center of South Louisiana can provide lasting relief in the form of a frenectomy, a simple oral surgery procedure that we are happy to perform in-house in Covington, LA.
During a frenectomy, Dr. Brandner will use a laser to remove or alter a frenum within the patient’s mouth. There are two types of frenum that may require removal: the labial frenum and the lingual frenum.
A labial frenum attaches the upper lip to the gum tissue between your two front teeth. Some patients have a labial frenum located too low on the gum tissue, which may result in an unwanted gap between the front teeth. Additionally, the labial frenum can lift the gums off the jawbone, resulting in a receding gum line.
The lingual frenum is the tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If it is too close to the front of the tongue, it can inhibit speech. Children with this issue may have a hard time developing speech, while infants may find it difficult to breastfeed. Problems with the lingual frenum usually need to be dealt with in infancy or childhood.
When Is a Frenectomy Necessary?
The labial frenectomy is recommended for patients suffering from gum issues due to a low labial frenum. It may also be recommended for patients who have a large gap between their two front teeth, which can cause aesthetic issues or even compromise the bite.
Lingual frenectomies are most often performed on infants or children, particularly those who experience difficulties with speech or breastfeeding.
What Are the Benefits of a Frenectomy?
The benefits of a frenectomy depend on the type of frenectomy performed.
For patients seeking a labial frenectomy, some of the most common benefits include:
- Improved ability to bite and chew
- Reduction in oral pain and discomfort
- Improved smile and self-confidence
For infants who receive a lingual frenectomy, the procedure can lead to an easier time breastfeeding (and thus less frustration on the mother and baby alike). The procedure can also help kids who have had a difficult time learning to speak.
What To Expect From A Frenectomy Procedure
The frenectomy is a simple, common procedure that we perform at our surgery center. Here is a general overview of what you can expect from the surgery.
The Initial Consultation
The first step in the process is meeting with Dr. Brandner, who will perform a physical evaluation and verify your need for surgery. During this initial consultation, Dr. Brandner will spend as much time as you need answering questions, explaining the surgery, and ensuring that you feel completely confident about the next steps.
Preparing for the Procedure
It is important to us that our patients do not experience any pain or discomfort during their procedure. For a frenectomy, IV sedation is seldom required. We generally perform this procedure with topical anesthesia, which ensures your comfort (or the comfort of your child). Note that, when we perform frenectomies on infants or babies, we generally ask one of the parents to hold the child, allowing them to feel safe and secure while the procedure is performed.
During The Procedure
Frenectomies can be performed with a scalpel, but we usually opt for the precision of a laser, making it quick and easy for us to cut the frenum and remove it. Using a laser also reduces the risk of infection and blood loss. In total, the procedure takes mere minutes.
What Is the Recovery Process for a Frenectomy?
Recovery from a frenectomy is very easy. The most important thing is keeping the treated area clean. You will also want to be careful about what you eat for the first few days, ensuring you do not allow food particles or bacteria to accumulate near the treatment area.
Most patients are ready to resume their normal activities within a day or two. The treatment area should begin to scar over within a week.
Find Out More About Frenectomies in the Covington, LA Area
Do you have questions about the frenectomy procedure, whether for yourself or your child? We are here to answer them and assist you in making an informed decision about your oral health care.
Schedule a consultation with The OMS Center of South Louisiana at your convenience at (985) 687-1616.