A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that is often used to treat an exceptionally short or tight frenulum. The frenulum, also known as the frenum, is the band of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. In some cases a short frenulum may cause a gap between the two front bottom teeth. This condition can restrict movement of the tongue and can affect a patient’s ability to eat and speak with ease, causing a common condition informally known as being “tongue-tied”.
In cases where a short or tight frenulum is adversely affecting the speech and eating habits of a patient, a doctor may recommend a frenectomy. A frenectomy is a procedure that surgically removes the frenulum. The frenectomy procedure is performed under local anesthesia and using a scalpel or a laser, the surgeon removes the frenulum from beneath the tongue. This procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes. If necessary, the doctor may use dissolvable stitches to close the wound. Most patients recover well from the frenectomy procedure, only experiencing minor soreness afterwards. While it is considered a safe and non-invasive procedure, risks of a frenectomy may include bleeding and infection.
After surgery, most patients experience restored full movement of the tongue and problems with eating and speech are greatly reduced. In some cases, tongue exercises may be recommended to improve the movement of the tongue after a frenectomy.