Oral Surgery: Why remove a Frenum?

According to the freedictionary.com a frenum is “ A membranous fold of skin or mucous membrane that supports or restricts the movement of a part or organ, such as the small band of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.”

These tissues are thin muscles that can simply get in the way and cause problems for a patient.

For example, some people are tongue tied and cannot stick out their tongue. When an examination is performed, the tongue has a frenum that runs on the underside of the tongue and connects to the floor of the mouth at or near the tip. If the frenum is freed up, a person will then be able to stick their tongue out.

On the upper teeth particularly in between the 2 front teeth, the frenum can be large enough to keep the teeth separated. The orthodontist will usually want to have this snipped to eliminate this cause for relapse of the space closing effort.

People who wear dentures may have to have 1 or more of these removed (there can be other pronounced frena in other parts of the mouth). If left, these can get sore or help to destabilize the denture.

Peiodontists have a reason to have these removed. If someone has recession, these muscles can pull on the attached gingiva causing further recession. If a procedure is being done to bolster the attached gum tissue in an area, a frenectomy can be done at the same time.

I have a patient who has recently had an implant placed for a lower central incisor, and the lingual frenum (on the tongue side)is very high and may jeopardize the tissue in the area. This is an another indication for a frenectomry.

So, most of the time dentists will leave the frena (plural of frenum) alone. But, there are several indications to have them removed, and that should be accomplished when noticed before further damage is done.