Frenectomy is a procedure in which the binding tissue in the body is cut or modified. The procedure is common in the early stages of life such as circumcision.
The oral frenectomy procedure is done to resolve a tongue tie or a lip tie.
Frenum in mouth refers to a piece of soft tissue connected to lips and gums. If it is too tight or too soft, it can interfere with breastfeeding, swallowing and speech development.
Types of Oral Frenectomy
Lingual frenum connects the tongue to the mouth. It stretches when you touch the roof of the mouth with your tongue.
Its length varies from person to person. Those who have short frenum have restricted tongue movement. This condition is called ankyloglossia or tongue tie. 5 percent of kids are seen suffering from this condition.(1) It’s common in boys than girls.
Tongue tie interferes in breastfeeding in infants and speech development as the child grows.
Lingual frenectomy improves the range of motion of the tongue.
Labial frenum connects top lips with the gums above the front lips.
The short labial frenum can lead to difficulty in speech and cause a condition known as lip adhesion.
Lip adhesion can also lead to a problem with dental development. It also makes cleaning the gums and front teeth difficult.
Maxillary frenectomy improves the mobility of the upper lip.
A person going ahead with frenectomy need to lie face up and should not move. The child’s face needs to be held during the procedure. Topical anesthesia is applied to numb the area. The frenum is quickly snipped using a scalpel or a scissor, or a surgical instrument.
A complicated and severe lip tie may require a few stitches to close the incision.
The entire procedure is completed in 15 minutes or less.
The laser can also be used as it minimizes the risk of blood and infection.
Frenectomy in Infants
Lip tie or tongue tie is mostly seen in infants. Babies with this condition face difficulty in breastfeeding. This can lead to slow weight gain.
Pain is experienced by the mother while breastfeeding, if the infant has a tongue tie or lip tie.
Frenectomy performed in an infant is simple with lesser risk and complications.
As a person grows older the oral cavities change significantly. The speech develops normally and there is no problem in eating and drinking. In such cases, there might not be a need to treat the tongue tie or lip tie.
However, the frenum could pull away from the gum from the lower row teeth causing gum recession. This might also restrict the tongue’s mobility.
Recovering After Frenectomy
Recovering after frenectomy is simple. You need to take care that the area is kept clean.
Food intake should be limited for the first few days. If the food gets trapped it could raise the risk of infection.
Oral antibiotics are prescribed to prevent infection or any complication.
Within a day or two, the area begins to heal and after a few weeks, the area begins to scar.
The person who has undergone a frenectomy is able to resume normal activities very soon.
An oral frenectomy is a simple, quick and outpatient procedure. There is very little risk of infection and complication, and it heals very soon.
Consult a doctor if you think your child has lip tie or tongue tie.