A frenectomy is a procedure commonly performed in dentistry.

There are several different muscle attachments in the bottom and top jaws that require relief under varying circumstances. A frenectomy is performed to severe the muscle under suspicion diminishing its effect in the oral cavity.

Although several of the muscles are present, it is uncommon for all but a select couple to need released. The most common areas are between the two upper center front teeth, between the lower middle teeth and under the tongue. The following narrative describes the 2 most involved areas.

We will consider each area individually and determine why each may require this procedure.

1. Between top middle teeth: This muscle attaches the top lip to the gum tissue in the vicinity of the top center teeth. There are 2 probable reasons why this muscle would require the mentioned procedure.

A. As children are growing, a low muscle attachment that is secured to the gum tissue between the teeth can prevent the center two teeth from moving together in their normal position as the child matures. Surgical intervention can allow the teeth to migrate to a natural position. Orthodontics may be necessary to assist in the positioning.

A low muscle location that persists into adulthood can constantly tug on the gum tissue between the top center teeth. This can result in gingival recession leaving an unaesthetic black space between the teeth in question. A surgical procedure performed timely can prevent this occurrence.

2. Attachment under the tongue: This situation is also known as “tongue tied” or “ankyloglossia”. Here the muscle attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth and in severe cases, restricts movement of the tongue while possibly effecting speech. A frenectomy can provide improved tongue mobility and speech.

3. Between the bottom 2 center teeth: In addition to the above described areas that exhibit frenum pull, the area that connects the lower lip to the gum tissue between the bottom middle two teeth can also be afflicted. The reason this muscle may need removed is because of its ability to cause significant gum recession. If gingival recession is pronounced enough, the risk of tooth loss is present.

Historically a frenectomy procedure was performed by a scalpel technique with sutures. This method involves bleeding, stitches, increased healing times and moderate discomfort. Modern techniques are performed with a soft tissue laser. This releasing procedure executed with a laser is very quick, has very little to no bleeding, no stitches and minimal pain. Truly, this method is state of the art.