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What is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is the surgical removal of the frenulum or frenum, which is a thin band of tissue found in various parts of the body. This surgery is most often performed on frenum tissue that is found in the mouth. It is a common surgical procedure in dental and orthodontic practices. Children and people being fitted for dentures are the most frequent candidates for a frenectomy.

There are two primary locations in the mouth where a frenum is found – under the tongue and underneath the center of the upper lip. The frenum attaches the muscles of the cheeks and lips to the mouth; in some cases, however, this tissue may interfere with the development of the mouth. In the event that the frenum is attached too close to the tip of the tongue or too far down the gums between the front teeth, a frenectomy may be performed.

Tongue Tied

For people who require treatment, there is a simple surgery which can be used to free the tongue. The term “ankyloglossia” literally means “tongue tied.” Some people have a relatively mild form, which is primarily limiting because they may find it challenging to stick their tongues out at people or to engage in activities like touching the tip of the nose with the tongue.  A lingual frenectomy is a fairly common procedure for children who may be “tongue tied” and is sometimes referred to as clipping the tongue. After the procedure, the tongue can usually be completely extended and becomes fully moblie.

A frenectomy is done with very little local anesthesia and may involve placing a few sutures. Dr. Howlett may also perform this procedure using a laser which is bloodless and does not require any sutures.