At John A. Lindsay, DDS Periodontics & Implantology, our strongest commitment is to our patients' continued oral health. You may have heard the phrase, "tongue-tied" used to describe someone who is having a hard time finding the correct word. Few people realize that a tongue tie is a real medical condition where excess connective tissue can prevent the patient's tongue from being able to achieve a normal range of motion. This tissue is called frenula. A related condition involves too much frenula between the gum line and inner lip, which can interfere with dental aesthetics and alignment of the teeth.
For patients with these conditions, we can perform a surgery called a frenectomy.
What is a frenulum?Frenula are pieces of connective tissue that are found all over the human body. They are thin and typically intended to restrict the range of motion of some parts of the body. Prominent frenula can be found in the mouth. There are frenula that connect both the upper and lower lips to the gum line at the anterior (front) of the mouth as well as under the tongue. An issue can arise when this connective tissue is bound too tightly. When something like this occurs, we can perform a frenectomy to remedy the issue.
What is a frenectomy?When a frenulum is too restrictive it can be corrected with a frenectomy. A lingual frenectomy is a simple procedure wherein we sever the tightly bound portion of the tongue from the base of the mouth. Other frenectomies are performed above the upper teeth, or below the lower teeth, by cutting away the excess frenulum. This can be done using either lasers or a scalpel.
When is a frenectomy necessary?For dental patients, frenectomies are usually performed when there is overly thick tissue connecting the gum line to the inner lip. This is commonly seen on the gums above the upper anterior teeth. This tissue can at times be thick enough to cause a separation between the teeth, creating a gap. A frenectomy by Dr. Lindsay removes the excess tissue so that a patient can enjoy a more aesthetic smile, or, for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment, a frenectomy prepares the gum line for the realignment of the teeth.
Sometimes the frenulum is very short where it attaches to the tongue and can impede speech. This is where the term "tongue tied" originated.
Another need for the surgery is found in infants who have trouble latching onto their mother's breast. Because the tongue plays a key role in the sucking motion required to latch onto the breast, if an infant tongue is bound by the frenulum, the baby can experience trouble breastfeeding.
Do I need a frenectomy?If you are concerned about the appearance of your smile due to excess gum tissue, have trouble speaking due to thick frenula, or have received recommendation by an orthodontist to undergo a frenectomy, please call us at (561) 997-4080 to schedule an appointment.
At John A. Lindsay, DDS Periodontics & Implantology, we are committed to your ongoing oral health. Your comfort and safety is our top priority, so if you or your children have special concerns about visiting dental practices, please let us know in advance. We are more than happy to provide you and your family with an introduction to our facility and staff. We also have a wide variety of sedation options available.
Please call us today at (561) 997-4080 to setup your appointment.