A ‘Frenectomy’ is the surgical alteration of a ‘Frenum’ which is a fold of tissue that can sometimes restrict movement. Usually, it is either related to the upper lip, the tongue or lower lip.
If movement is restricted and is interfering with normal function a ‘Frenectomy’ may be required.
In adults, the procedure is usually performed to relieve restricted movement in the mouth, to close spacing between two teeth which may be deemed as unsightly, and in those patients that wear full dentures in order for them to seat properly if a frenum is causing complications.
The procedure is performed using a scalpel and then the area is stitched, which only takes about 15/30 minutes from start to finish. In adult patients, local anaesthetic is given which is usually enough although Sedation for any treatment can be offered. In children, we may suggest a referral to undergo the procedure under General Anaesthetic.
As with any surgical procedure, the aftercare will be discussed in length with you by your dentist but it is essential that you keep the area clean with gentle salt water rinses which aids the best healing and recovery. The stitches will need to be removed a week or so after the procedure.
Complete healing usually takes 3-4 weeks and during the healing phase, over the counter pain killers can be used for any post-operative discomfort.
Complications are very rare with this procedure, especially if you take good care of yourself afterwards, but if there are, your dentist will discuss the best way to resolve them with you. In those patients that take anti-coagulant medication (Blood thinning medication), bleeding may be a risk for you but again you dentist will make you aware of these risks and deal with them accordingly.
Success rates are high as the procedure is simple and short with patients experiencing little, if any, discomfort in the healing phase.
Gingival Surgery/ Grafts
Gum surgery is a necessary treatment option for those patients who have gum recession. You may have been informed by your dentist that you could benefit from gum surgery or a ‘gum tissue graft’.
Gum recession is where the gum pulls away from a tooth, exposing more of the tooth and in some cases if quite extreme, parts of the root of the tooth. This can cause damage to the teeth’s supporting bone foundations. Although Gum recession is an incredibly common dental problem, it often goes unnoticed until it becomes more severe. Eventually, severe cases of gum recession can lead to tooth loss.
A gum graft or surgery to pull the gum back around the neck of the tooth can be advantageous for several reasons:
- Improve the appearance of your smile
- Protect your teeth and the supporting bone from further damage
- Decrease/prevent tooth sensitivity when eating hot and cold foods
There are numerous techniques that can be offered in Gum surgery procedures and your dentist will advise you in the best technique for your specific needs.