What you need to know about a Frenectomy


San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

If you’re living with a tongue tie or a lip tie, you may experience restricted oral movements like difficulties swallowing and maintaining correct oral posture and breathing habits. However, a frenectomy is a simple procedure that releases tethered oral tissue. If you or someone in your family has a tongue-tie or lip-tie that needs to be released, you should go into a frenectomy with as much information as possible. Read on as the San Francisco dentists at Glen Park Dental tell you everything you need to know about a frenectomy.

First off, what’s a frenum?

A frenum, or frenulum, is a band of tissue in the body. We each have three frenulums: one under the tongue, one connecting the top lip to the upper gum, and one connecting the bottom lip to the lower gum. The frenums connecting the lip to the gum are known as labial frenums, while the frenum attached to the tongue is called the lingual frenum.

For some people, this frenum is too short or thick, restricting the tongue or lip’s range of motion. This is known as tethered oral tissue, and a person is born with it. Even from birth, tethered oral tissue can have ramifications on oral health, nutrition, and overall health. An infant with a restricted frenum may have difficulty nursing, feed every two hours or less, have colic, reflux, difficulty bonding with the mother, and fail to thrive.

If the tethered oral tissue is not treated promptly, a person unconsciously develops negative habits to compensate for the limits in the range of motion. These problems could include difficulty adjusting to solid good or swallowing, having a heightened gag reflex, or issues with speech development. If tethered oral tissue (TOT) persists untreated into adulthood, a person living with TOT may experience airway issues, misaligned teeth, speech impediments, and nutritional deficiencies, among other problems.

A frenectomy prevents any of the above issues.

What can you expect when undergoing a frenectomy?

A frenectomy is the specialty of one of our dentists in Oakland, Dr. Kimberlee Dickerson. If tethered oral tissue is identified, she can release the frenum, restoring proper range of motion of the tongue or lip.

Here are a few things you need to know about a frenectomy:

  • It’s fast – The procedure can be performed in just a few seconds, even for very young infants.
  • Discomfort is minimal – In most cases, a frenectomy can be completed without using any anesthetic.
  • You may need therapy – Myofunctional therapy, that is. This consists of a series of simple exercises that work the muscles of the mouth and face. Performed regularly, these exercises educate the oral muscular system to eliminate any negative habits that developed from living with the tongue-tie or lip-tie.

Frenectomy in Oakland, San Francisco, and Marin

If someone in your family is living with a tongue-tie or lip-tie, having the problem treated promptly is crucial. The dentists at Glen Park Dental can help. If you need to have your child evaluated for a frenectomy, schedule your consultation today by calling (415) 585-1500.