A frenectomy is the laser removal of a frenum, which is a thin band of muscle tissue found in the mouth. Children and some adults are the most common candidates for a frenectomy. There are two primary locations in the mouth where a frenum is found.
One location is under the tongue where the tissue is attached too closely to the tip of the tongue. This can interfere with speech, feeding, and proper tooth development. This condition is referred to as ankyloglossia or "Tongue-Tied". A lingual frenectomy is the removal of this lingual frenum from under the tongue. It is a fairly common procedure for children who may be "Tongue-Tied" and is sometimes referred to as clipping the tongue. After the procedure the tongue can usually be completely extended and becomes fully mobile.
The other common location where a frenum is found is between the front teeth (either upper or lower). It connects the inner aspect of the lip with the gum. A lack of attached gingiva, in conjunction with a high frenum attachment, which exaggerates the pull on the gum margin, can result in gingival recession. Additionally, an excessively large frenum can prevent the teeth from coming together resulting in a gap between the front teeth. If pulling is seen or the frenum is too large to allow the teeth to come together, the frenum is surgically released from the gum. This is called a labial frenectomy.
Post-operatively there may be a few days of swelling of the tongue or lip and mild to moderate discomfort. Most patients tolerate the procedure very well and complications are rare.