A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that removes or eliminates a band of elastic tissue that connects the gum tissue directly adjacent to the gum line to the lip, cheek or floor of the mouth. It is usually performed under local anesthetic with very quick healing.
The frenum is part of the normal oral anatomy, but may sometimes restrict movement of the lip, cheek or tongue, or may impinge on the gingiva (gums). Occasionally, a large or wide frenum may inhibit normal function.
A labial frenum is a band of muscle from the lip that may attach to the gingiva, contributing to a space between the teeth. It most often affects the upper central incisors. Even if an orthodontist closes this gap, the frenum can still push the teeth apart once more. The frenectomy may be recommended after orthodontic treatment to help stabilize the position of the teeth. Another indication for a frenectomy is a partial or full denture patient whose function is hindered in chewing. Frenectomies are occasionally performed for aesthetic considerations if the frenum prevents a natural smile.
Broad labial frenums on lower teeth may harm healthy gum tissue and hasten periodontal disease and gingival recession. In these cases, a frenectomy may be enhanced by a gingival tissue graft. This procedure is most commonly performed by a periodontist.
The frenectomy procedure is performed in our office under local anesthetic, generally utilizing a laser. In most cases, this procedure takes 10 - 15 minutes and no stitches will be required. You will feel very little during this procedure, and most people are comfortable with over the counter medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.