Four reasons for children to have a frenectomy.
Frenectomy is a simple, short oral surgery procedure conducted in our office with a laser. It eliminates the presence of a frenum, a connective tissue in the mouth. There are 2 types of frenum in the mouth. A labial frenum is the tissue that connects the inside of the upper lip to the center of the gums between the two upper front teeth. A lingual frenum is the connective tissue between the underside of the tongue, connecting the bottom of the mouth to the area behind the teeth. A frenectomy eliminates the frenum.
There are different reasons for children to have a frenectomy. For Infants, those reasons may include:
- Infant is not gaining weight
- Latch is shallow/infant falls off frequently
- Infant is gassy or clicking noises are prominent
- Feedings are causing mom discomfort/pain
In toddlers between the ages of 18 Months – 5 years old, the most common reason to have a frenectomy is that the frenum does not allow clearance of food and plaque and it is difficult to clean the upper teeth, which can potentially cause cavities.
Sometimes in children between 5 – 7 years old the frenum will cause a space between upper front incisors. It is ideal to remove the frenum one year before teeth come in. This gives the front teeth the best chance to come in without a space between them.
The procedure is quick and simple. For toddlers, the child will be given oral sedation before the procedure begins. For older children, there is an option to have oral sedation, Nitrous Oxide, or in some cases both. After the child has been sedated, the dentist will apply a topical anesthetic gel on the frenum. Next, a local anesthetic will be administered with an injection. Then, a soft tissue laser will be used in order to cauterize blood vessel and nerve endings. Using a soft tissue laser will reduce the risk for infection and minimize bleeding during and after the procedure.