Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery of the lips and tongue frenulum

What is the Plastic surgery of the lips and tongue frenulum?

Frenulum (or frenum)  is the medical term used to describe the soft muscle connective tissue found in the mouth, digestive tract, external genitalia and brain.

A frenectomy is an oral surgical procedure performed to correct the unhealthy shape, size or position of the frenum muscle tissue which connects the tongue, lips and cheeks to the jaw bone. When the frenum is abnormally formed and positioned, such as along the gums or tongue, it may impact teeth alignment and restrict tongue and lip movement for communication.

Frenectomy surgery serves varied purposes in dentistry to restore frenum condition for healthy oral function. Typical dentistry treatments requiring a frenectomy include:
- dentures
- tongue clipping
- orthidontics

What is the procedure?

Frenectomy procedures used to remove or alter the frenum may be with soft tissue laser or a dental scalpel. Laser frenectomy eliminates the need for stitches, reduces bleeding and allows for faster recovery. Frenectomy surgery duration is approximately half an hour and patients soon recover within a fortnight.

Advantages and disadvantages of the procedure

While risks are posed by frenectomy surgery the benefits patients receive vastly enhance their quality of life. Having stable dentures reduces oral discomfort, allows for better chewing ability and facilitates normal communication.

“Tongue tied” conditions can affect an individual's communication, how they express themselves and others' perceptions. Lingual frenectomy enables individuals to experience better communication and life opportunities.

Frenectomy surgery corrects orthodontic conditions for improved bite function, nutritional choices, communication and facial expression. Patients experience enhanced oral and overall health from frenectomy surgery for better quality of life.

Recovery period and recommendations

Patients usually recover from frenectomy surgery within an approximate period of two weeks. This depends on the patient's health condition and healing rate.

The dentist may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or advise patients to use over-the-counter, such as Ibuprofen. Rinsing the mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash is recommended to clean the treatment site gently and prevent infection. Salt water may be used as an alternative mouth rinse.

Careful cleaning around the frenum treatment site is advised. However, patients are encouraged to continue healthy oral hygiene such as teeth brushing and flossing.
If frenectomy surgery procedures are performed by dental scalpel, sutures should self-dissolve within a two-week period or may need to be removed by the dentist.

Possible side effects and complications

All surgical procedures have inherent risks such as bleeding, bruising, infection, nerve damage, swelling, scarring, pain and discomfort. Frenectomy surgery may include these risks.

In some cases, the frenum tissue may redevelop requiring repeated surgery. Repeated labial frenectomy is less common than repeated lingual frenectomy. Laser frenectomy requires no sutures and patients usually experience less bleeding and discomfort with quicker recovery time.

Tingling or numb sensations may be experienced at and around the treatment site should accidental nerve damage occur. Patients should immediately inform their oral surgeon or dentist.

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