A frenum is identified as a fold of tissue that attaches the facial muscles to the jaw bone. To dissipate the force for the facial muscles, a mat of dense fibrous tissue is attached to the jaw bone; that mat of dense fibrous tissue is called gingival or gum tissue. In some people there is an inadequate band of gum for various reasons—aggressive tooth brushing, trauma or periodontal disease, and the muscles of facial expression start pulling the gum tissue up or down, depending on which arch of the mouth the muscle pull occurs. The muscle has to be severed to allow internal scar tissue to form; the scar tissue acts as a stress breaker when a person chews, speaks, kisses, etc., breaking the force of the muscle pull.
At Smiles! Dentistry, by Dr. Joseph Heher, experienced dentist Dr. Heher performs a frenectomy procedure to remove the frenum within the lip in order to break the force of the muscle. With children a frenectomy is performed for different purposes when the frenum muscle is causing a space between the two front teeth, preventing them from touching each other. Contact our office in Salisbury, MD to learn more about a frenectomy and to schedule you or your consultation with Dr. Heher.
"The staff is super friendly and so is Dr. Heher. My family has been using him for years and I can't imagine going anywhere else"- B.M. / Facebook / Oct 01, 2019
"Like a lot of people, I dread going to the dentist. I was scheduled as a first time patient very quickly. Dr. Heher sat with me before and after my exam and comprehensively went over my care plan. He listened to my previous dental horror stories and was very reassuring and kind. I feel at ease going back."- M.B. / Google / Sep 27, 2019
"Dr. Heher went in-depth with me at my first exam. Him and all staff made my day as they were kind and professional. Being to three different dentist in the area, I truly feel Dr. Heher was thorough, easy to talk to and ask questions and gentle. His staff and himself definitely make you their priority."- A.B. / Google / Jan 04, 2019
"I really liked how friendly the staff was. It was my first time going here and I was really impressed with how Dr. Heher sat down and explained everything to me. Great dentist! 😁"- A.K. / Google / Aug 30, 2019
"Hygienist Barb always fantastic, putting patient at ease with her humor & professionalism. Dr. Heher offers many words of support, encouragement.He was first to identify, diagnose a problem I was having.Office Ladies pleasant & helpful."- J.D. / Google / Aug 23, 2019
What To Expect
Prior to the surgical procedure, Dr. Heher will examine your condition to determine the severity of your muscle pull. In most cases, the frenectomy is nothing more than a really good paper cut, severing the muscle. A bandage is then applied to prevent the skin of the mouth from closing the wound before the scar tissue has formed (skin grows faster than scar tissue); this is most difficult part of the procedure--keeping a bandage in place while you heal (looks like a wad of bubble gum) due to the moisture in a mouth (think of putting a Band-Aid on a wet finger). There is no change in the flaccidity of the lips, and the only indication you’ve had something done would be if some of the bandage shows. Bleeding usually stops after a short period of time, and over-the-counter analgesics control any discomfort. A follow-up visit is indicated about a week later, and either a second bandage is applied, or the tissue is left uncovered to skin over the incision. Typically, a frenectomy is performed under a local anesthetic and takes about 15 – 30 minutes. In cases of severe recession of the gingival tissue, a graft of gum tissue is needed, but that is another procedure and will be explained at your visit if needed.
After the procedure, tenderness and soreness are common, but over-the-counter pain medication usually alleviates the discomfort. It's also essential to keep the bandage in place until your next visit. The area under the bandage cannot be brushed until it is removed at the follow up appointment. Optimal healing usually takes about 2 – 3 weeks.
Luckily, only a few people need frenectomies. However, Dr. Heher’s skill coupled with modern surgical techniques mean that a frenectomy can be safely and effectively performed to improve the condition. Contact Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher today to learn how we can help you.