At First Family Dental, we specialize in pediatric dental care. As we get to know your child and build a dental history, we’ll monitor the changes in dental growth and development that your child will experience.

Looking for Abnormalities

During early childhood exams, we check for any abnormalities or areas that we think may cause your child problems in the future. One thing we look for is problems with the thin band of tissue that connects your child’s upper lip to the gum and also between the tongue and bottom of the mouth. This is referred to as the frenum.

You’ll find these bands of tissue in two places – between the two front teeth where your upper lip meets the gums, and under the tongue. In most cases, these attachments grow normally and don’t create any problems.

However, in some cases, the bands may be too large, creating problems:

  • The frenum on the upper lip can extend all the way down to the gum line where your teeth meet your gums. It needs space to grow, so it will prevent the top front teeth from coming in right next to each other, leaving a large gap between the teeth. It may also push these teeth back apart after orthodontic treatment.
  • If the frenum underneath the tongue is too tight, the tongue can’t move freely and will interfere with your child’s speech. This condition is often referred to as a “tongue tie.”

Frenectomy Procedure

In either case, our doctors may suggest a frenectomy, where we remove the frenum. We perform this surgery on children over six years old, and it can usually be completed in less than half an hour. But your child needs to remain completely still during the procedure, so we usually recommend that, for their safety, treatment be done at the hospital under general anesthesia.

A frenectomy is a fairly simple procedure and usually heals without problems and with little pain. Ask your pediatrician first, but we find that an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen is usually all that’s needed to reduce discomfort. We also recommend rinsing with salt water to help keep the area clean.

It can be overwhelming to think about your child having any sort of surgery, but we can assure you that our doctors have performed many safe, effective frenectomies in the 15 years they’ve been working with children. For a procedure that can be completed so quickly, it will have a dramatic effect on your child’s life and dental development.

We Work with Your Needs

The cost of a frenectomy may or may not be covered by dental or medical insurance.  We want you to know what to expect, so we’ll get a pre-treatment estimate from your insurance company. You’ll know up front what the insurance will or won’t cover and the portion you’ll be responsible for. If necessary, we’ll be happy to work with you to make financing arrangements.

Please give us a call to arrange your child’s next dental exam and cleaning so we can check to make sure everything is developing properly.