You must have a noticed a flap of membrane just below your tongue. This fold of skin is called frenulum or frenum. It is a fold of oral mucous membrane (covering of oral cavity) that checks or limits the motion of a part where it is present.

Frenums are present as the fold on the underside of the tongue and various other places in the oral cavity. (1)

Sometimes this tissue interferes with the oral functions and may cause extreme discomfort to you. In such conditions, you may require to surgically remove this tissue from the oral cavity to restore general oral structure and functions.

The surgical removal of frenum is called frenectomy. If nothing else works then frenectomy is the last option to fix problems related to frenum.

What is a frenum?

A frenulum is a small fold of skin that helps to support a semi-mobile body part and control its moments. The frenum is present on several parts of the body like a penis, beneath the tongue, junction of cheek and the alveolar, as part of the female genitalia, internally in the brain and digestive tract.

The most important positions for frenum outside the body are mouth and genitalia. The Tiny structure like that of a frenum generally goes unnoticed when it comes to the health of the body.

But, if this tissue is too thick or too short or present in the wrong position, then it can lead to certain health issues.

Abnormally short or thick frenulums can also be symptoms that may indicate more serious illnesses, like genetic defects that may affect both the development of the frenulum and the internal organs.

Types of oral frenum

Oral cavity consists of multiple frenal attachments in different locations which have mainly frenum and frenulum (small frenum). In normal conditions, there are numerous frenums present at different sites such as maxillary labial frenum or mandibular labial frenum. Here are all the significant frenums mentioned which are present in our oral cavity –

  • Lingual frenum is present just below the tongue.
  • The maxillary labial frenum is present just below the upper lip.
  • The maxillary buccal frenum is present between the cheek and the membrane of the upper jaw.
  • The mandibular labial frenum is present just below the lower lip. It connects lower lip with the mandible (lower jaw).
  • The mandibular buccal frenum is present between the cheek and lower jaw.

What is frenectomy?

Frenectomy is a common dental procedure performed on infant, children, and adults. It is an oral surgical procedure that is performed to eliminate the presence of a frenum in the mouth.

Frenectomy is mostly done for orthodontic work as it may cause the teeth to move away from each other even though the braces have brought the teeth together. (2)

Why we need frenectomy?

Your dentist may recommend you to get frenum removed during orthodontic treatment. When frenum is present close to the teeth, then it may cause two teeth to push apart even after you have braces.

Infection in the frenum may cause it to swell, which contributes to increasing the gap between two teeth creating diastema. (3)

A frenum can also cause recession of your gums, and cause them to pull back from your tooth. If the lingual frenum is very long and extends up to the tip of the tongue, then it can directly affect the function of the tongue.

What after frenectomy?

There may be a very little post-operative pain and swelling with the normal function of the lips and tongue. Many patients hardly experience discomfort after surgery.

Some people may develop pain and burning sensation around the site of surgery. Here are some tips which may help you to manage the after-effects of the surgery –

  • Eat a soft diet for five days after surgery.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Swishing with mouthwash to prevent bacterial infection.
  • Avoid stretching tongue or lip area for 4 hours after the surgery.
  • Use coconut oil to massage your gums and tissue around the surgical spot to prevent the tissues from sticking together.
  • Get a cold press to reduce the swelling and pain.
  • Maintain proper oral hygiene to prevent your surgical site from getting infected. (4)
  • Visit your dentist if you suspect anything unusual.

Conclusion

The mouth consists of two thin muscular attachments called frenum that control the moments of lips and tongue. Sometimes due to severe infection in this tissue, is required to eliminate from the oral cavity.

Frenum sometimes causes several problems which can’t be managed without the removal of frenum. Removal of this tissue from the mouth is known as frenectomy.

Some people may experience pain and discomfort after frenectomy. Your dentist might prescribe you painkiller in extreme cases. It’s necessary for you to maintain good oral health to avoid any further infection on the site of surgery.

Frenectomy is an easy procedure and can be performed on people of any age group to promote beautiful smiles with maintaining the natural functioning of the mouth.

Frenectomy is an oral surgical procedure that is performed to eliminate the presence of a frenulum in the mouth.