Most of our mouths are imperfect in one way or another. In some cases, people are born with minor issues such as crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. In others, the problem can be caused by soft tissues like the frenum. At Drs. Miller & Beitz Implants and Periodontics of Richmond, we specialize in surgical and non-surgical procedures designed to improve your periodontal health. If you have impaired oral functions due to problems with your frenum, you may need a frenectomy.
What Is a Frenum?
The frenum is a small band of soft tissue usually located in two parts of our mouths. The two major types are known as the lingual and labial frenum.
The lingual frenum is located beneath the base of your tongue. This band of tissue connects the tongue to the floor of your mouth and can be many different sizes. If your lingual frenum is too short, it can result in a condition known as being “tongue-tied.” A frenectomy allows us to improve the mobility of your tongue and eliminate this condition.
The labial frenum is located in the upper arch of your mouth. This band of tissue connects your gums to the inside of your upper lip. You can usually feel the labial frenum by placing your tongue in space between your two upper teeth and your lip. If this frenum is too long or too wide, it can create a space between your two front teeth, known as a diastema. A frenectomy allows us to eliminate excessive tissue, and close the space between your teeth.
During your consultation appointment, Dr. Miller or Dr. Beitz will be able to determine if you are a suitable candidate for a frenectomy. The type of frenectomy you receive depends on which frenum is causing problems. However, the basic steps for each procedure are the same.
A frenectomy begins with the application of a local anesthetic. This medication will numb the area and eliminate discomfort. We also offer sedation dentistry for patients with severe anxiety associated with dental procedures.
Next, we will use a scalpel or soft tissue laser to make precise incisions that release the frenum. In some cases, the entire frenum must be removed. Once we achieve the optimal results, we will suture the incisions, usually with dissolvable stitches.
After Your Frenectomy
After a frenectomy, most people experience little or no post-operative pain, swelling, or bleeding. If we use a dental laser, there is even less discomfort. The laser cauterizes the incision as it cuts, which improves the healing process.
Once you are fully healed, you should see a vast improvement in the mobility of your tongue. If you receive a labial frenectomy, you may need orthodontic treatment to close the gap. We typically ask our patients to schedule a follow-up appointment so that we can monitor your progress. Regardless, a frenectomy is one of the safest and most effective ways to improve your periodontal health.
Schedule a Consultation
If you think you may need a frenectomy, we can help. Call (804) 285-4867 to schedule your consultation today.