Frenectomy Procedure In San Diego
A Solution for Lip-Tie and Tongue-Tie
What is a frenectomy?
A frenectomy, also known as frenulectomy, is a procedure designed to address lip-tie or tongue-tie conditions. During this procedure, a surgeon modifies or cuts the frenum, which is a band of connective tissue that connects two areas. In the oral cavity, frena (plural of frenum) can be found connecting the lips to the gums or the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
While most frena in the mouth do not cause any issues, there are cases where a frenum may be too short or tight, leading to oral health problems and potential speech impairments. In infants, it can interfere with breastfeeding or swallowing. In adults, it can lead to impaired speech or gum recession. A frenectomy offers a solution by releasing or modifying the problematic frenum, allowing for improved oral function. This article aims to shed light on the purpose and importance of frenectomy procedures.
Who Requires a Frenectomy?
Frenectomies are commonly performed on infants experiencing feeding difficulties or displaying speech concerns. However, there are situations where frenectomies may be necessary for adults as well. For instance, a tight frenum can exert excessive pressure on the gums, leading to gum recession and potential oral health issues. By undergoing a frenectomy, individuals can free the connective tissue, reducing the risk of gaps between teeth, gum recession, and other related problems.
Understanding the Purpose of Frenectomy
There are several reasons why you or your child might require a frenectomy. We may recommend this procedure to address the following conditions caused by a problematic frenum:
- Lip-Tie: Lip-tie refers to a condition where the frenum restricts the movement of the lips. This limitation can impact proper lip function, potentially causing difficulties with activities such as eating, speaking, or maintaining oral hygiene.
- Tongue-Tie: Tongue-tie occurs when the frenum restricts the range of motion of the tongue. This condition can affect various oral functions, including speech articulation, swallowing, and even oral hygiene practices.
- Diastema: Diastema refers to a gap between the teeth, which may be aesthetically displeasing to some individuals. In certain cases, a tight frenum can contribute to the development of diastema. By undergoing a frenectomy, the tension is relieved, potentially reducing the gap between the teeth.
- Gum Recession: A tight frenum can pull the gums away from the teeth, leading to gum recession. This recession can result in increased vulnerability to gingivitis, cavities, tooth mobility, and other oral health complications. A frenectomy can help address this issue by releasing the tension and allowing the gums to properly reattach to the teeth.
- Discomfort with Oral Care: In some cases, a problematic frenum can cause pain, swelling, or tenderness during brushing or other oral care practices. By undergoing a frenectomy, individuals can alleviate these discomforts, making oral hygiene routines more manageable and enjoyable.
A frenectomy serves as a valuable solution to these conditions, helping individuals achieve optimal oral function and improved overall well-being.
Before, During, and After a Frenectomy: What You Need to Know
Before the Frenectomy Procedure
Before undergoing a frenectomy, Dr. Kennie Kwok will conduct a thorough review of your health history. This assessment helps identify any preexisting conditions or potential concerns that may affect the procedure. Additionally, he will discuss the need for sedation and the available options, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, or IV sedation. It’s important to note that sedation may not always be necessary for a frenectomy, and he will help determine the most suitable approach for you.
During the Frenectomy Procedure
In infants, the frenulum is typically removed using scissors. The procedure is quick and usually takes only a few minutes. On the other hand, for older children and adults, local anesthesia is administered to numb the tissue around the frenum. Once you’re comfortable, we will proceed to remove or modify the frenum using a scalpel or a laser. In some cases, sutures (stitches) may be necessary to close the incision. Generally, a frenectomy procedure takes approximately 30 minutes or less.
After the Frenectomy Procedure
Following a frenectomy, we will provide you with detailed postoperative instructions to ensure proper healing and recovery. The specific care guidelines may vary depending on individual circumstances, but here are some common aspects to expect:For infants, usually no further care is needed, and they can resume feeding immediately after the procedure.
- Pain relievers may be prescribed or recommended to manage any discomfort that may arise.
- The use of antibacterial mouthwash may be advised to promote oral hygiene during the healing process.
- For tongue ties, myofunctional therapy exercises are given to promote proper healing and to avoid reattachment of the frenum.
Risks and Benefits of a Frenectomy
As with any surgical procedure, there are associated risks and potential complications to be aware of. These may include bleeding, infection, injury to salivary ducts, pain, swelling, allergic reactions to anesthesia, and, in rare cases, reattachment of the frenum. However, it’s important to remember that these risks are typically minimal, and our professionals take necessary precautions to mitigate them.On the other hand, the benefits of a frenectomy can be significant. The procedure can improve breastfeeding issues in infants, address speech problems caused by tongue-tie, prevent recession, reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems, and possibly enhance the appearance of your smile by eliminating gaps.
Recovery and Resuming Daily Activities
Most individuals can resume work, school, and other daily routines after just one day following a frenectomy. While you can sip liquids immediately after the procedure, it is advisable to wait until the numbness from the anesthesia wears off before eating. Stick to soft foods during the initial few days, gradually reintroducing more solid foods as you become more comfortable. By understanding the process before, during, and after a frenectomy, you can approach the procedure with confidence and ease. 7
If you have any questions about whether a frenectomy is the right treatment for you, please call us today at (619) 543-0905 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Kwok