Frenectomy Vs. Frenotomy: What's the Difference?

The frenulum is the tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth and connects your lips to the inside of your mouth. In some cases, this tissue can suffer different types of anomalies, in which case a procedure is needed to correct it and restore the function and to allow for proper movement.

If the frenulum is too tight, for instance, you might find it difficult to stretch the tongue below the bottom of your teeth, or may even suffer from speech impediments. These abnormalities can also affect the way you look, affect your dental hygiene, or restrict the movement of your lips. They are also more common in infants, but adults can experience them as well.

Frenectomies and frenotomies are common procedures used to correct these abnormalities. Though they are sometimes used interchangeably, they have vastly different goals.

The Main Difference Between These Procedures

A frenectomy involves completely removing the frenulum, while during a frenotomy, the frenulum is snipped and slightly relocated.

Both procedures will require an initial consultation during which the dentist or doctor will inspect the frenulum to see what is the best course of action for treatment. Topical anesthesia is applied to this tissue to numb the area, and the frenulum is snipped with a scalpel or cauterizing instrument like a laser.

In most cases, these procedures do not require stitching unless the frenulum is thicker and tighter, which can lead to extra bleeding and delayed healing without stitches.

Some practices have upgraded to using lasers to perform these procedures, which help minimize the risk of infections and bleeding by quite a lot.

Who Needs a Frenectomy or Frenotomy?

These are common procedures done for infants, as an abnormal frenulum usually leads to problems with breastfeeding, often referred to as lip & tongue ties. However, adults might need them as well, especially if, over time, the frenulum pulls the gums away from the teeth.

No matter if you need this procedure or your infant, you should know they are considered minimally invasive interventions and are extremely safe. Recovery time is also rather swift, although adults can expect a longer recovery timeline.

How Do I Know If My Frenulum Is Affecting Me?

For infants, the signs usually revolve around their breastfeeding. If you have difficulty feeding the child and notice more discomfort or pain while breastfeeding, an abnormal frenulum is a likely culprit. Contact your pediatrician to book a consultation to see if this is the case.

As for adults, the signs are usually speech impairment, reduced lip mobility, or a receding gum line. Your dentist can inspect your mouth and tell you if your frenulum is causing any unnecessary disruptions.

We Can Help You

If you are looking for a specialist to help you address these oral issues in your kids, we here at Kingstowne Dental Specialists are happy to help you. 

Book your consultation now if you suspect your child’s frenulum is affecting their life.

free first visit for kids under 15 months!