A maxillary frenectomy is a relatively minor oral surgery that takes place in the office and utilizes a laser to remove connective tissue that is located underneath the tongue or that attaches the upper lip directly to the gums. It is performed to correct issues associated with being tongue tied or lip tied.
The frenum is a piece of soft tissue located in the mouth that connects to the gums and the lips. If this tissue is too tight or too short, it has the capability of interfering with the breastfeeding process in infants, being able to swallow appropriately, and/or speech development. If you are a parent or guardian that has been informed that your child needs a maxillary frenectomy, continue reading to learn more.
Two Types of Frenums
Generally speaking, there are two different types of frenums. These are the lingual frenum and the labial frenum. The lingual frenum is situated between the floor of the mouth and the base of the tongue. Its overall size varies.
It may restrict the general movement of the tongue. If so, a procedure may be performed by a pediatric dentist, oral surgeon, or another type of specialist. By freeing the movements of the tongue, the child may speak properly, swallow properly, and appropriately engage in other movements.
The labial frenum is located in the upper arch region of the mouth. If it is too long or too wide, it has the capability to connect through the gum to between the teeth region to the roof of the mouth. It may also create a space that is located between the two front teeth.
The goal of the surgery is to ensure that the space is closed up. Again, a pediatric dentist, a general dentist, and/or a professional that specializes in oral surgery may perform this operation.
The Frenectomy Explained
When the maxillary frenectomy is performed, its goal is to reduce the size of the frenum with a scalpel or even a type of laser.
There are certain dentists that will utilize both types of tools in order to carefully cut the soft tissue out and shape the remaining tissue so that the result is optimal. In most cases, there is only a small amount of pain and/or swelling that happens following the procedure. Additionally, your child should have full functionality – in terms of the tongue and the lips.
The professional that performs the procedure may require your child to use a special mouth rinse after that is designed to kill germs and reduce the possibility for infection to occur. Additionally, this type of mouth wash may help increase the speed of the healing that naturally occurs after the procedure.
Signs a Frenectomy May Be Needed in an Infant
The following outlines signs that may indicate that an infant needs to have a frenectomy performed:
- The mother may find that she experiences pain during the nursing process.
- The baby seems to have issues latching onto the mother’s breast during the feeding process.
- The baby may appear to have issues opening their mouth widely.
- The tip of the tongue may appear to be shaped like a heart.
- The infant may seem to experience gas frequently.
Signs a Frenectomy May Be Needed in a Child
The following outlines the signs that suggest that an older child may be a good candidate for a frenectomy:
- The top jaw may appear to be narrowly vaulted.
- The child seems to experience problems with speaking.
- The lower jaw may appear to protrude outwards.
- There may be an open space or a gap located between the upper or the lower front teeth.
- The child may seem to have issues in eating or seem to be suffering from digestive complications.
Contact Us Today
If you feel as if your infant or older child may be experiencing an issue with one of the frenums that are located within the mouth, you may contact us here at Richmond Pediatric Dentistry today.
We will set up an appointment to evaluate your child. If an issue is identified, we will walk you through the next steps required – which may or may not include a maxillary frenectomy. We are taking an immense amount of precautions in our office due to the current pandemic.