Frenulum Removal

A frenulum is a piece of tissue that is seen between the upper or lower front teeth that restricts excessive movement. The frenulum of your lower jaw attaches the gums to the lower lip, and the frenulum of your upper jaw attaches the gums to your upper lip. In some cases, frenum may be too thick or too short, which can severely hinder movement in your upper and lower jaw. This may occur to just one frenulum or both frenum. There is also a frenulum that connects your tongue to the floor of your mouth. In cases of too restrictive of a frenulum, speech or eating may be difficult. Overly restrictive frenum typically occur in infants or young children. In cases where the frenum disrupt speech or the ability to eat comfortably, a frenectomy is often suggested.

What is a frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a minor frenum removal surgery, which is designed to grant a wider range of motion of the upper jaw, lower jaw, or tongue. A frenectomy is designed to safely correct overly restrictive frenum so that speaking and eating are more comfortable. A frenectomy should be considered if a frenulum begins to negatively impact daily life due to inhibited oral mobility. A frenectomy is either performed with a scalpel or laser and typically takes 10-20 minutes depending on how many frenum are being released.


What types of frenectomies are there?

We offer 3 main types of frenectomy surgery in Washington, DC: a labial frenectomy of the upper jaw, a labial frenectomy of the lower jaw, and a lingual frenectomy. These surgeries are similar and only vary in which frenulum of the mouth is being operated on. During a frenectomy, 1 frenulum is typically operated on, but it is not uncommon that a patient may require 2 frenum or all 3 frenum of the mouth to be released.

Upper Frenectomy

The upper frenulum is a band of tissue located in the middle of the gums above the front teeth. This frenulum joins the upper lip to the upper gumline. As children grow, they may experience complications with the development of their upper frenulum. When the upper frenulum extends too far down, diastema may occur, which is a gap in between the front teeth. Additionally a receding gumline is possible with a frenulum that is too short. Patients may experience difficulty fully closing their mouth if the upper frenulum is too restrictive, which may cause a child to breathe through their mouth, hindering the development of nostril breathing.

Lower Frenectomy

A labial frenectomy of the lower lip is often performed to correct a gap between the lower teeth, receding gums, and other conditions that can affect the ability to chew and speak properly on a daily basis. A lower frenectomy may also be performed in older patients who are being fitted for dentures. Frenum are often removed in patients who are being fitted for dentures because frenum can cause dentures to become more easily dislodged. Following the removal of a lower frenulum, dentures can be more securely placed.

Lingual Frenectomy

A lingual frenectomy is a surgical procedure that corrects an overly restrictive frenulum that is found under the tongue. This frenulum connects the tongue to the base of the mouth. If the range of motion of the tongue is severely limited due to an overly restrictive frenulum, a lingual frenectomy is often suggested. In a case of a restrictive frenulum of the tongue, if the tongue is held too low by the frenulum, proper jaw development may be hindered, which can result in continuing orthodontic and orthognathic complications. In more severe cases, sleep apnea may also occur by a short frenulum.

In many cases of an overly restrictive lingual frenulum, ankyloglossia may occur. Ankyloglossia, more commonly referred to as being tongue-tied, is the result of an irregularly tight lingual frenulum. Children who suffer from ankyloglossia may have trouble with daily activities like chewing, eating, or swallowing. The term ankyloglossia is referred to as being tongue-tied because it also causes speaking to become very difficult for children. Ankyloglossia may also hinder an infant’s ability to properly breastfeed.

What should I expect from a frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a simple procedure that is typically performed in just 10-20 minutes. The length of your frenectomy will depend on how many frenum are being operated on. A frenectomy may be performed in several ways, but each frenectomy surgery is designed to be as minimally invasive as possible. Some frenectomies are performed simply by cutting the frenum in order to grant a wider range of motion. In these cases, a topical anesthetic is often used for patient comfort. In other cases of a frenectomy, the entire frenum may be removed to allow for a complete range of motion. Laser technology is also used in some frenectomy surgeries in order to reduce post-procedure healing time.


What should I expect after a frenectomy in Washington, DC?

A frenectomy is a relatively minimally invasive procedure, so the recovery period is often short. The length of your recovery from a frenectomy will depend on your individual rate of healing, how many frenum you are having a frenectomy performed on, and which technique is used during your frenectomy surgery. In the majority of cases, most patients feel well enough to return to their daily activities almost immediately. Over-the-counter pain medications can be used to help reduce any post-procedure discomfort.

How can I get started with a frenectomy?

Dr. Pashapour and his staff at Pashapour Oral + Facial Surgery would be happy to discuss the details of a frenectomy with you. To schedule an appointment in Washington, DC or Arlington, please call our office at 703-566-1990 or request an appointment online.

Having Frenectomy Surgery

Professional Memberships

Educational Background

Georgetown University The University of Pennsylvania School Of Dental Medicine Drexel University College Of Medicine University Of Medicine & Dentistry Of New Jersey

What Our
Patients Say ...