There are two connective tissues in the mouth known as frenums. These frenums connect tissue together to provide stable and ample movement of the lip or tongue. When one of these frenums is unusually short, it will need to be altered or removed to provide free movement of the child's mouth. Frenectomies are very common and are often easier to perform when a child is young and has time to develop after the procedure.
If your child's labial or lingual frenum is too short, it can restrict movement of the tongue and lip. This can make it difficult for your child to eat, chew and even smile because of the frenum getting in the way of normal movement. During a routine dental exam, we will be able to tell if your child is having issues because of the size and shape of their frenum. We will then discuss options concerning removing or altering the size of this connective tissue.
Oftentimes, parents will notice that there is a problem with their child if they are unable to smile fully or if they have limited movement of their tongue. For infants, this can make it difficult for them to feed properly and comfortably. For toddlers, it can make it difficult for them to speak, which may be construed as a speech impediment. A frenectomy can be performed right in our office and is less invasive than you might think. It can be performed on both infants as well as children.
To make the procedure more comfortable, we will use sedation to put your child into partial or full sleep. The frenum is then cut or severed so that movement is restored to either the upper lip or tongue that it was affecting. The surgery takes very little time and can be done in less than an hour in our office. Because the surgery is being done on an infant or child, their body is likely to heal quicker than if it was done in adulthood and the mouth will adapt easily to the frenum being severed or altered in size and shape. We understand that it can be confusing to understand the meaning of a frenectomy and what it can do for your child, so we're here to answer any questions you may have regarding this procedure.