What is a Frenectomy
The frenulum, also known as the frenum, is the line of tissue running underneath the tongue that allows it to move in all directions while still remaining connected to the mouth. The medical condition that is known as “being tongue-tied” refers to when one’s frenulum is too tight, which restricts their tongue from moving normally. A tight frenulum is often operated on during a surgical procedure called a frenectomy within a few days of an infant’s birth.
Although frenectomies are commonly performed on newborns, they can also serve as an effective treatment for sleep apnea and upper airway resistance syndrome in adults. When a tight frenulum prevents the tongue from reaching the roof of the mouth, it can obstruct the airway. Troublesome results from this include nighttime snoring and sleep apnea. By receiving a frenectomy, your tongue can move and rest properly, and you can breathe easier while you sleep.
What Happens During a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy itself typically lasts no longer than ten minutes. We administer local anesthetics and then gently release the frenulum underneath your tongue.
The frenum release can be done in one of several ways: by scalpel, electrosurgery, or laser treatment. Patients tend to prefer laser treatment, as it causes minimal bleeding and pain, provides instant, precise results, and generally has the fastest recovery time. Prior to your procedure, we meet with you to decide which would be the best method.
After Your Frenectomy
Frenectomy recovery tends to be quick and low-maintenance, ranging from a few days up to, at most, two or three weeks. During this time, many patients only require over-the-counter pain medication to combat any ongoing soreness. As you recover, we recommend that you use a soft toothbrush when you brush your teeth and take care to avoid reaggravating the incision point and/or nearby gums.
If you’re struggling to breathe well at night, and you believe a frenectomy might be right for you, please contact us at Forestville Family Dentistry. We would love nothing more than to help get you back to getting a good night’s sleep.