The frenum is a muscular attachment found between mouth tissues and structures. Three of them are located in the mouth:
A lingual frenum often causes a person to have trouble using the tongue during speech, as the frenum is attached all the way up to the tip of the tongue. A maxillary labial frenum, which runs from the gums to the upper lip, can cause a gap between the two front teeth, while a mandibular labial frenum affects the two bottom front teeth . While these conditions are often remedied during childhood, some adults have yet to undergo a procedure to treat, known as a Frenectomy.
These two occurrences are common in children, and do not cause pain – though the space between teeth are affected with the maxillary or mandibular labial frenum. Those with the lingual frenum are typically able to eat and speak normally. A frenectomy is recommended only if the muscular attachments are causing pain or reducing function of the teeth or tongue.
Possible symptoms of a lingual frenum include:
• Restricted movement of the tongue
• Infants with this restriction have difficulty breastfeeding
• Possible speech impediments
• Tongue is pulled down, causing it to take on a heart-shape
Symptoms of a maxillary labial frenum include:
• Restricted movement of the lips
• Teeth are misaligned
Finally, symptoms of a mandibular labial frenum include:
• Plaque buildup
• Food accumulation
• Loss of function with lower central incisors
• Bone loss
The frenectomy treatment takes about 15 minutes and is an outpatient procedure. A topical anesthetic is used to numb the area, and a laser or scalpel cuts the necessary frenum. Young children may undergo a general anesthesia, if necessary, to keep them still during the quick procedure.
A laser surgery for the lingual frenectomy offers a few benefits over a scalpel, including:
• Little bleeding
• No sutures
• Little discomfort after the procedure
For a maxillary labial frenum, the gap between the two front teeth should be closed with braces before undergoing the procedure. If a frenectomy is done before the gap is closed, the scar tissue that forms on the gum will prevent the teeth from coming together, even after the procedure.
During the procedure for the labial frenectomy, an incision is made along the length of the muscular attachment and removed, leaving a bell-shaped opening in the lip and gum. Sutures close up the gap if a scalpel is used.
Treatment is often done in childhood to prevent any possible speech impediments or eating issues. A scalpel is often used in a labial frenectomy, while a laser quickly and effectively treats the lingual frenum. Discuss the benefits of scalpel or laser use with your oral surgeon.
Benefits of a Frenectomy
Children who undergo a frenectomy restore normal function in the tongue and lips. Infants have trouble nursing with a lingual frenum, so a remedy will ensure ease during feeding sessions. The removal of a labial frenum will ensure full use of the lips and reduce the occurrence of a gap between the teeth.
Costs of a Frenectomy
The cost of a frenectomy often costs around $3,000 USD, depending on location and age of the patient. In India, costs for the procedure are usually below $1,000 USD, depending on the type of anesthesia used.
Choosing Your Doctor
The cosmetic dentist you select should have basic credentials as well as experience in the procedure you are looking for. Finding a highly skilled cosmetic dentist may take a little bit of effort but will pay off in the long run. Your dentist should be licensed through a state or national licensing board. Find out where they completed their dental training. Do they belong to American or International dental associations or organizations? Cosmetic dental patients should be able to view and understand their treatment plan as well as all the costs and recommendations that are necessary and included for a specific procedure.
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