A frenectomy is a medical procedure that removes connective tissue in your mouth. This can happen in one of two areas, at the skin connecting your lips to your gums, or under your tongue.

You may have noticed the folds of skin in your mouth. This is called a frenum or frenulum. You may wonder why someone may need them removed. They don’t seem to serve much of a function—after all, your lips & tongue don’t fall off if they are removed.

Why Get a Frenectomy

However, for some people, this connective tissue is too tight. In a way, it’s working too well, & restricts the lips or mouth from their full range of motion. A person suffering from this may have difficulty speaking, eating or drinking.

Speaking may be a bit much for most people who are diagnosed. More often than not, this is found during infancy, so it’s possible you’ve had a frenectomy & don’t even know it.

People who have a tight frenulum connecting their lips & gums are said to have a lip tie. As you may have already guessed, people with a tight tongue frenulum are considered tongue-tied.

The Procedure

There are two types of frenectomies: a labial frenectomy that disconnects the frenum between the gums & lip, & a lingual frenectomy, which frees the tongue from the frenulum on the lower jaw.

Since many people have the procedure done in infancy, it has been perfected to cause as little pain as possible. When we are that young, our bodies heal quickly, so recovery times are fast & normal feeding can begin immediately.

In adults the procedure may take a little more time to heal from. You may be able to have IV or nitrous oxide sedation to help during the procedure. Mild pain medication can help with swelling & discomfort. Monitor the site for one or two weeks, & so long as you take good care of your smile, you should be able to eat, drink & speak normally.

Talk to Your Providers

A frenectomy is a type of surgery, so you’ll have to see a specialist for the procedure. A frenectomy is not considered cosmetic, however, so it’s a good idea to check with your dental & medical insurance providers to see if they cover any of the costs.

Later in life, frenectomies can be done for cosmetic reasons as frenulum issues can occasionally lead to a gap between teeth. These types of procedures may have a higher out-of-pocket cost.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to talk about your oral health concerns with your dentist. If you feel you have trouble with your mouth’s range of motion, ask your dentist if a frenectomy may help

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