A frenum is a muscular tissue attachment that connects two tissues in the mouth. We have two main frena (the plural form of frenum) in the mouth. The frenum that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is called the lingual frenum and the frenum that connects the upper lip to the gums adjacent to the top front teeth is called the maxillary labial frenum. Sometimes these attachments or bands may be too thick / short or prominent which may obstruct the normal functions of tissue movement or cause misalignment of teeth.
The phrase "tongue tied", refers to the frenum under the tongue being too short or when the frenum is attached all the way to the tip of the tongue. This would mean a prominent lingual frenum causing a person to be tongue-tied, which is a common occurrence in young children. If the lingual frenum is too prominent then a frenectomy may be recommended to give the individual a normal tongue function.
A prominent maxillary labial frenum can cause a large gap to occur between the upper two front teeth. If esthetics is a concern then a frenectomy is recommended for the Maxillary Labial Frenum. Also if the frenum is causing a lot of pain on the upper lips and gums, then immediate treatment is necessary. The upper frenectomy is usually carried out until after the age of 8 years old or unless as suggested by your dentist. Usually this treatment should be delayed until the upper permanent teeth have come in or erupted in the mouth. If the gap doesn't close, then it can be treated using braces or Invisalign to help straighten the teeth.
A frenectomy involves numbing of the frenum and area needed to be altered with an anesthetic. A small incision on the muscular band is made which will then allow the tissue to move freely. The incision then would be stitched up to allow the tissue to heal. The healing is usually very quick if post operative instructions are followed as per the dentist. For more information be sure to contact our office.