The piece of tissue that attaches your upper lip to your gums is called a frenulum.  Another example of a frenulum is the part of your mouth that connects the lower lip to the gums.  A frenulum that is too short or thick can cause speech and tooth alignment problems.  Some babies have a difficult time breastfeeding if they have a shortened frenulum underneath their tongue because it affects their sucking motion.  When a patient’s frenulum disrupts movement, growth, or development, corrective action is necessary.

A frenectomy is a minor surgical procedure to correct misaligned frenulums.  This type of surgery can be done in your dentist’s office and usually takes less than 15 minutes to complete.  It can be performed with either a scalpel or laser.  Using a laser is desirable because it results in very little bleeding and does not require stitches, unlike with a scalpel.  A laser surgery also results in less discomfort afterwards and a shorter healing time.  Young children and infants are put under general anesthesia for the procedure.  Adults can have the procedure performed using local anesthesia only.  Do not fret if your child needs a frenectomy.  The procedure is very successful and causes minimal discomfort for you or your little one.

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