Frenectomy Frequently Asked Questions

A frenectomy, also known as frenum surgery, is a procedure that is designed to reduce the size of a part of the body called the frenum. Frena are the soft connective tissues in the upper and lower mouth that connect the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, and the lips to the upper and lower gums. Some people have short frena that restrict the movement of their mouth, causing problems with things like breastfeeding, speaking, and eating.


A short frenum connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth is often called a tongue tie. A short frenum connecting the upper lip and gums is often called a lip tie.


A frenectomy is a common procedure in babies, but as with any surgery, it helps parents to know what to expect when their little one goes in for it. To help you feel prepared, here are the most frequently asked questions we have answered about frenectomies.


What are The Signs That My Child May Need a Frenectomy?


Short frena can have a direct impact on the way that babies eat and eventually speak. In most instances, they are detected very early on when the infant is trying to feed. This is because newborns with a lip or tongue tie can have problems latching onto the breast if nursing, take longer than usual to feed, or become excessively gassy because they take in too much air when they feed.


Can Older Children Have a Frenectomy?


Although most cases of a tongue or lip tie are detected in infancy, it’s not unheard of for older children to still have this problem. Common symptoms of a short frena among older kids include problems with speech/pronunciation, difficulty swallowing, and a mouth that is tender or sore.


Can My Doctor Perform a Frenectomy?


While some doctors probably can perform a frenectomy, it is considered to be a dental procedure and so should be carried out by a dental professional with the skill and experience to do so.


What is Involved in a Frenectomy?


A frenectomy is an extremely short and simple procedure. Your child’s head will be held securely while very sharp, sterile scissors are used to severe the frena. It takes a matter of seconds and there should be very minimal bleeding. The skin should heal within a couple of days and babies are usually happy and prepared to feed again within an hour of their surgery.


Will My Child Have a General Anesthetic?


Most frenectomies can be performed with only local anesthesia, which numbs either the tongue or lip so that your little one doesn’t feel anything when the frena is cut. In very young babies, it may not be necessary to use anesthetic at all since it takes just a few short seconds to perform the procedure. Older children may be given a general anesthetic, or local anesthetic combined with sedation, depending on their individual circumstances.


Are There Any Complications Associated with a Frenectomy?


A frenectomy is usually a simple procedure, but while complications are rare, it’s important that patients/their parents are aware of the potential risks involved. These include excessive bleeding, infection, scarring, and damage to the tongue, nerves, or salivary glands.


Learn more about frenectomies, contact Reaves Dental in New Hartford, NY at (315) 736-0139 to book an appointment. 

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