Frenulectomy in Leesburg, VA

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Although the name may sound intimidating, a frenulectomy is a common procedure that is performed to address a variety of medical issues related to the frenulum, but most commonly issues in the mouth of children and occasionally adults. During this simple procedure, the patient’s frenulum is either clipped or removed.

What is a Frenulum?

The frenulum is a small piece of tissue connecting your tongue, cheeks, and lips to your gums. Your body has several different frenums, but the most common frenums that require a frenulectomy are found within the mouth.

The two most common frenums are:

  • Lingual Frenum: This frenulum connects your tongue to the floor of your mouth, and can occasionally run to the tip of a patient’s tongue, which in turn causes them to be “tongue-tied.”
  • Maxillary Labial Frenum: This frenulum is responsible for attaching your gums and upper lip above your upper two front teeth.

Neither of these frenums serve a necessary purpose, so removing them does not result in loss of any function. If either of these have developed in a manner that is problematic, your dentist may schedule a frenulectomy, which will remove the problematic frenulum.

At Lansdowne Dental Care, we are committed to working diligently to help you receive the oral health support you need. If you or your child are scheduled to have a frenulectomy, or if you have any questions about the procedure, please contact us at 703.844.4403.

Frenulectomy for Adults

A frenulectomy may be necessary for an adult who has an over-sized frenulum, which can result in a wide variety of common problems, including the following:

  • Jaw Pain/Soreness/Clicking sound when opening or shutting your mouth: A tight frenulum can cause difficulty chewing, which can create pain. It is not uncommon for patients to be misdiagnosed with TMJ, when in fact their frenulum is the cause of the issue.
  • Difficulty Eating: To chew properly, your tongue needs to be able to freely move about your mouth. If your frenulum is too tight, this can make this process more difficult, resulting in difficulty swallowing. A frenulectomy can help address this issue.
  • Improving your Dental Health: If a frenulum is preventing food from moving through your mouth properly, other dental issues can begin to develop. Because you will not be able to clean your molars by swiping the tip of your tongue across them, excess food particles can become stuck in your teeth for longer periods of time, which can result in more decay.
  • Proper Denture Placement: If you are having dentures placed and the position of your frenulum is interfering, it may be necessary to have a frenulectomy. This can also be necessary for those getting fitted with braces.
  • Difficulty Talking: Although many children with frenulum issues and tongue limitations learn to compensate, these issues can make it more difficult for them to be audible and articulate when speaking at higher or lower volumes.
  • Difficulties Playing Instruments: Frenulum issues can make playing certain instruments, such as the trombone or trumpet, difficult.

Frenulectomy for Children

Children can experience issues when their frenums are too large and prevent them from freely moving their tongue. This interference with speech is what is commonly referred to as being “tongue-tied.” Additional symptoms related to larger frenums include:

  • Difficulty nursing/breastfeeding
  • Frenulum getting stuck between teeth
  • Receding gums, which can result in periodontal disease
  • Difficulty sticking their tongue out

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Frenulectomy Procedure

A frenulectomy may sound like a serious procedure, but in truth it is less invasive than a filling. Your dentist will provide a local anesthetic to reduce discomfort during the procedure. Once the area is properly numbed, they will reduce the tissue using a specialty laser, which minimizes discomfort and instantly sterilizes the area,
lessening the chance for infection and speeding up the healing process.

If your newborn is scheduled to have a lip tie or tongue tie surgery, your dentist will simply need to free the lingual frenulum under the tongue, which will then allow your infant to feed normally. The recovery time for this procedure is almost instantaneous, and in most cases, your child will be able to feed immediately following the procedure.

If the procedure is being performed for an older child, your dentist may use a mild anesthetic before separating the frenulum with the laser treatment. This process may require a few sutures, especially for more severe cases. The process, however, is very quick, taking roughly 15-30 minutes to perform.

If Left Untreated

If you or your child has a frenulum that is left untreated, you can experience a variety of symptoms, including the following:

  • Limited jaw growth
  • Limited orofacial muscle movement
  • Altered or limited development of dental arches
  • Crowded teeth
  • Messy eating and/or improper swallowing
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Inadequate lip seal
  • Periodontal disease
  • Airway constriction or nasal sinus congestion
  • Deep or over closed bite

Frenulectomy Aftercare

Because the frenectomy procedure is so non-invasive, there is generally no special post-treatment care you need to follow. It is important, however, that you schedule a follow up appointment to make sure that the treatment is successful and heals the way it is supposed to. There are times when a second frenulectomy will be required to optimize the treatment, but this is very rare.

Associated Costs

At Lansdowne Dental Care, we are committed to providing you and your family with quality dental care that you can afford. The final cost of your procedure will be determined by your specific insurance plan. Our office is happy to assist you in helping you understand and best maximize the benefits detailed in your specific contract, though we do require that you bring a copy of your benefit booklet so we can help you decide what approach is best for you. It is important to note: not all procedures are covered by benefits in all contracts. We accept Cash, Check, or Credit card, as well as 3 rd party financing options.

Contact Us

Scheduling your appointment for this checkup is your first step towards a confident, healthy smile. To begin your journey towards the perfect smile, please contact us to set up an appointment for procedure at 703.844.4403.

At Lansdowne Dental Care, we treat every patient like a member of our family and are committed to changing lives by creating beautiful smiles!

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Meet Dr. Tracey Nguyen

Dr. Tracey Nguyen received her Doctor of Dental Surgery, Magna cum laude, at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College of Virginia. Dr. Nguyen is trained in all phases of implant dentistry, and has received extensive training in cosmetic dentistry. She is also a manuscript/review editor for the Academy of General Dentistry.

We are located in Leesburg, VA but proudly serve Lansdowne, Reston, Broadlands, Ashburn, Sterling, and all neighboring communities.