Pediatric Dentist in Washington, DC
A frenum (also called frenulum) is a tissue attachment that holds or connects an area such as the tongue, lip or cheek. Occasionally a frenum might be exceptionally tight, thick or short. Frenul pull can contribute to localized areas of gum recession or difficulty in nursing for newborns. It can also play a role in creating gaps between teeth.
A frenectomy is a laser-assisted surgery to excise the frenum. This procedure generally takes less than fifteen minutes and has minimal post-operative discomfort.
A diastema is a large gap between teeth. A diastema can result from an unusually thick or tight frenum that attaches close to the teeth. Frenectomy, combined with orthodontics, can correct this problem.
Normal tongue motion can be constricted with a tight frenum. This can tug on the gingiva of the lower anterior teeth, creating recession. It can also lead to challenging nursing, either for the baby or the mother. In severe cases, this may affect speech. Eliminating this attachment can restore proper tongue movements and eliminate gingival pull.
Not every child will benefit from a frenectomy. A thorough exam and consultation will inform the dentist and parents of whether treatment is indicated. Laser-assisted frenectomy can safely lead to improved gingival health and nursing in newborn children.