Dental Frenectomy guide
Of all medical procedures carried out on infants, a frenectomy is one of the most common.
A frenectomy is a name given to procedures that involve cutting of any of the body’s binding tissue.
Usually, frenectomies are carried out on the genitals. Like in the event of circumcision.
But in some cases, a frenectomy is used to mean an oral procedure that stops a lip tie or a tongue tie. This is a dental frenectomy.
The small soft tissue that connects the gum to the lips is known as the frenum. An extra short or extra tight frenum affects breastfeeding, speech development, and swallowing.
There’s a lot to know about an oral frenectomy and we will be discussing further the important things you need to know about an oral frenectomy.
The tongue is joined to the mouth by the lingual frenum. Whenever your tongue touches the roof of your mouth, the lingual frenum stretches below the tongue. You feel it when it does.
The lingual frenum has several lengths that differ in individuals. There are people born with very short lingual frenum. This limits the tongue’s movement.
Ankyloglossia or tongue-tie is the name given to this condition. Ankyloglossia often disrupts a child’s breastfeeding and causes problems with speech development as they grow.
When a frenectomy procedure becomes necessary
As mentioned earlier, a tongue tie occurs when the lingual frenula or labial frenum of a child prevents the tongue or upper lip from moving freely. A baby with this condition will find it difficult to latch on a breast, pacifier, or bottle. To make up for this, the baby overcompensates and causes pain to the mother. The child is also affected by the poor supply of breast milk. But a frenectomy saves the day. The procedure cuts the piece of skin and gives the baby enough room to nurse.
Does a frenectomy hurt the child?
There are two methods of carrying out an oral frenectomy. They are using a laser or scissors. These two methods are easy and fast however the laser procedure causes almost zero pain. In fact, the laser procedure does not cause bleeding and there is a short recovery time.
While the dental frenectomy procedure can be done in less than 20 minutes, it greatly depends on how skilled the doctor is.
Make sure that the doctor is conversant with the problems tongue-tied babies face during breastfeeding. A skilled doctor will perform a complete frenectomy and run a diagnosis to know what the problem is. After a lingual frenectomy is done, the tongue eventually has access to move in a wider range.
The top lip is joined to the surrounding gum above the front teeth by the labial frenum.
A shorter than normal labial frenum can hinder the child’s speech development. This is also a kind of lip adhesion.
When the developing dentition is affected by lip adhesion, it erupts poorly. In that case, cleaning the front teeth and gums become hard. The endpoint is an increase in the risk of gum disease, cavities, and other dental issues. To improve the mobility of the upper lip, a maxillary frenectomy needs to be done.
Dental Frenectomy procedure
An oral frenectomy is quite simple most of the time.
Usually, consultation with the pediatrician or doctor is the first thing to do. After that, the patient is firmly held while they lie on their back. The doctor then applies a topical anesthetic to dull the pain. Surgical scissors, a cauterizing instrument, or a scalpel is used to sever the frenum. Severe lip ties often need a few stitches to heal their incision. It takes less than 15minutes to finish an oral frenectomy.
There is no difference between the laser frenectomy and the basic oral frenectomy except for the use of a laser. The laser frenectomy reduces infections and loss of blood.
Identifying frenectomy in infants
The majority of the time, tongue tie and lip tie is detected in children. Babies suffering from these suffer during breastfeeding. This causes weight loss or poor weight gain.
The mother feels more pain when breastfeeding a tongue-tied child. A frenectomy is a basic procedure for an infant. There are little complications and risks and the doctor can do it in an office setting.
Dental Frenectomy for adults
The oral cavity undergoes changes as an individual grows older. Adults who have normal speech development and do not have eating or drinking difficulties would most likely not treat a lip tie or tongue tie.
But a frenum can cause a gum recession by pushing the lower front teeth away from the gum. This blocks the ability of the individual to move their lips or tongue. To solve this problem, an adult frenectomy needs to be done.
It takes much more time for an adult frenectomy to heal than it does an infant.
Dental Frenectomy cost
A dental frenectomy is often covered by insurance. With as little as a referral from the doctor, a child or an adult is not going to spend more than a copay amount.
However, according to sources, there are different prices for the frenectomy procedure. According to a source, the average cost of a frenectomy is $750. The majority cost between $250 and $1200.
Recovering from a frenectomy
The entire recovery process after a dental frenectomy is smooth and straight.
The area where the procedure was performed in the patients just need to be kept clean. This is a simple task in infants.
Adults will have to cut down on the amount of food consumed in the first few days after the procedure. If food gets trapped in the area, it can result in complications and increase the chances of developing an infection.
Usually, some doctors prescribe oral antibiotics for adult patients after the oral frenectomy procedure to avoid infections or arising complications.
Normally, the scar starts to heal between one to two days. By the end of the week, the patient notices that the clipped area has started to scar.
Once this happens, they can now carry on with their normal activities without worries of complications.
Kelly Hancock, RDH
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.