What is a frenum?
A frenum or frenulum is a piece of tissue that prevents an organ from moving. There are frenums that attach your lips to the gums, while another connects the tongue to the gums. A frenum that is too short or thick, will cause problems in speech patterns and tooth misalignment. In adults a frenum can cause gum recession as well.
In infants, a shortened frenulum underneath the tongue may inhibit breastfeeding. When the frenum disrupts movement, growth, or development, corrective action is necessary to resolve the situation. Dr. Weintraub’s techniques using laser surgery eliminate the need to place infants in the operating room or the need for drugs for treatment.
In addition to breast feeding issues in infants, there can be other issues with lingual frenums. A tight, or poorly positioned lingual frenum is a condition commonly referred to as being “tongue-tied” or “ankyloglossia” which can cause speech impediments and difficulties with chewing, swallowing and other aspects of oral function. and for some older children, teens and adults, cause daily discomfort and/or pain. In children, with the exception of infants with feeding difficulties, speech therapy and other non-surgical interventions are usually attempted before a frenectomy is recommended.
A Frenectomy may also be used to alleviate problems caused by a tight or poorly positioned maxillary labial frenum (between upper front teeth). A labial frenum that is attached to the gum too close to the front teeth can cause orthodontic issues as the adult teeth come in, creating a large gap between them. In such cases, frenectomy is generally recommended only when the gap cannot be closed through orthodontic care alone. More rarely, a problematic labial frenum can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, requiring frenectomy to ensure dental health.
Using a laser causes very little bleeding and does not require stitches. A laser also results in less postoperative discomfort and a shorter healing time. This procedure is performed using a strong topical anesthetic or sometimes small amount of local anesthetic. For the nervous patient, nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) can be administered. If your child needs a frenectomy, our laser has made this procedure much more comfortable with faster healing than traditional scalpel techniques.