Frenectomy Ruined My Smile

Frenectomy, or frenotomy, is a procedure in which your doctor removes bands of connective tissue known as the frenum, from your mouth. 

But you may be confused because you might have heard from others: “frenectomy ruined my smile”.

Your doctor may recommend frenectomy for different reasons. And you might have questions popping up in your head about frenectomy. Don’t worry. In this article, we will answer your questions. So keep reading.

Before digging deeper into the topic, we will discuss what is a frenectomy.

What Is A Frenum?

A frenum is a band of soft tissue present inside your mouth on different parts. It connects one part of the mouth with another. 

There are two types of frenum:

Lingual Frenum

This type of frenum is present under your tongue. When you stick your tongue out and lift it, you can see a band of tissue underneath your tongue. That is the lingual frenum. 

lingual-frenectomy

Labial Frenum

This type of frenum is present in the upper and lower gums. The upper one connects the upper lip with the upper gum, and the lower frenum joins the lower lip with the lower gums. 

The function of these frenae is to provide stability to the structures in the mouth. Sometimes, a frenum may overgrow and become thicker and tighter than it should be. It restricts the movements of different parts of the mouth.

When the lingual frenum becomes tight, it is known as a tongue-tie. It interferes with speaking as the tongue can not move freely.

Overgrowth of the labial frenum interferes with the normal development of the teeth. It can result in diastema- an increased gap between the front teeth.

When Is A Frenectomy Recommended?

Doctors may recommend a frenectomy if the dysfunctional frenum interferes with speaking or eating and swallowing food. 

Dentists usually suggest a frenectomy after aligning the teeth. Frenectomy removes the oversized frenum and prevents the gap between the teeth from occurring again. 

What You May Be Thinking Regarding Frenectomy?

If your doctor has recommended you a frenectomy, many questions emerge in your mind. You might be thinking, what if I end up saying: “frenectomy ruined my smile”?  

To answer that question, let us tell you that a frenectomy does not ruin your smile. It helps you get back that beautiful smile. An oversized frenum may cause the gums to recede, and it may come in between your teeth, increasing the gap between them. It may make you conscious about your appearance and smile.

A frenectomy removes the abnormal frenum. Along with orthodontic treatment like braces, it helps close the gap between your teeth. It gives you a beautiful smile which makes you confident.

You may be wondering can a frenectomy cause a gummy smile? To answer this, we want to tell you that a frenectomy does not cause a gummy smile. In a frenectomy, the soft tissue between your front teeth is removed. A gummy smile happens when there is excess gum tissue that covers your teeth. There are treatments available to correct a gummy smile, which you can discuss with your dentist if you have one. But you need not worry if you think that you will regret that you can’t smile after a frenectomy.

You may want to ask: “Does a labial frenectomy change your smile?”. We understand that you might be concerned about getting a tissue removed from your mouth. You may wonder how it may end up? What will the result look like? You may think that frenectomy changes appearance. But we would like to tell you that the tissue your doctor or dentist will remove from your mouth is excess tissue. It is oversized tissue that causes problems with the normal development of teeth. Removing it will not affect your smile or any other functions of the mouth.

Another concern regarding upper lip frenectomy is the sagging of the upper lip. You might have heard about lip drooping after a frenectomy. While it is true that the upper lip might droop after a frenectomy, you should also know that this is temporary, and with medications, this problem resolves in some days. The tight frenum pulls your lip upwards. When your dentist removes that frenum, the upper lip may sag a little because the additional force pulling it up is gone. But once healing occurs, this problem usually does not persist. 

frenectomy-ruined-my-smile

A lower lip frenectomy is also done for similar reasons as upper lip frenectomy. When the frenum interferes with the alignment of the teeth or when it causes the gums to recede, doctors suggest lower lip frenectomy. Lower lip frenectomy also does not change your smile. 

You may also have a concern: how long does it take to heal after a frenectomy? The answer to that is it can take around 4-6 weeks for the healing process to complete. The recovery time is shorter with laser frenectomy than a surgical one. Laser frenectomy usually does not take more than two weeks to heal completely. 

During the healing period, rinse your mouth with warm salt water to keep it clean. You may complain of pain and swelling at the site of injury. The swelling gradually increases and then subsides with time. The pain can be controlled with pain-killer medications. Your dentist or doctor might prescribe you medications to relieve pain. 

You may also notice slight bleeding during the healing period. It usually occurs during the initial period and is nothing to worry about. However, if the bleeding is uncontrollable, you should consult your doctor. 

Side Effects Of Frenectomy

You might be concerned about frenectomy side effects. Here we will tell you about the side effects of a frenectomy. Usually, a frenectomy heals in some weeks without side effects. In some people, however, side effects may show. 

So some side effects may show up in some people. Laser frenectomy has fewer side effects than surgical frenectomy.

Side effects of a frenectomy include:

Bleeding

You may notice slight bleeding after a frenectomy from the site of surgery. Placing a wet tea bag and applying a little pressure on the bleeding site should resolve the bleeding. 

Swelling

You may notice some swelling after a frenectomy. It is not uncommon for swelling to occur after a frenectomy. The swelling peaks on the second or third day and subsides with time. Taking an anti-inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen can help reduce the swelling. However, ibuprofen can have side effects, and if you experience any side effects, do not take it. 

Pain

After a frenectomy, you may experience pain. Some degree of pain should not worry you, as it is not unusual during the healing period. Your doctor may prescribe you analgesics like ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve the pain. 

Avoid eating hot and spicy foods. Try eating soft food that is easy to chew. Crunchy, hot, and spicy foods can irritate or damage the site of surgery, causing increased pain and bleeding. 

Infection

There are chances of infection after a frenectomy. Infection increases the pain and swelling. You may notice that the swelling does not subside and increases with time. Sometimes, an infection may show bodily symptoms like fever. 

You can prevent an infection by keeping your mouth hygienic. Gurgle with warm salt water after every meal. Use mouthwash if your doctor has prescribed it. Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics before and after frenectomy to prevent infection. You should not miss these antibiotics or quit them before the time your doctor instructed. Not taking medications properly can cause infection, which makes healing difficult. 

Nerve damage

Sometimes, your nerve may get damaged during a frenectomy. It may affect the sensations around that area. You may feel the tip of the tongue numb after a frenectomy. This is because of nerve damage. You may also notice tingling sensations around that area. 

The good news is that, in most cases, nerve damage is not permanent and will resolve after a few weeks on its own. 

Labial frenectomy side effects and lingual frenectomy side effects are similar. These side effects can be prevented and treated with medications. Follow your doctor’s instructions to prevent any side effects and complications.

There are some side effects of a frenectomy that may occur. But a smile change after a frenectomy is not one of them. So if you have the question: “ does a labial frenectomy change your smile?”. Then don’t worry, because it doesn’t.

FAQS

Question- Is it important to get a frenectomy done?

Answer- A frenectomy is beneficial because an abnormal frenum interferes with eating, swallowing, and speaking. It can also increase the gap between your front teeth, causing you to lose your beautiful smile. Therefore, it is important to get your frenectomy done if your dentist has suggested it.

Question- What is the difference between laser and surgical frenectomy?

Answer- Laser frenectomy makes use of a laser to cut excess tissue while, in surgical frenectomy, doctors use a blade. Because a blade is not used in laser frenectomy, there is a reduced risk of bleeding. Healing is quicker with a laser frenectomy, and the side effects are lesser. However, laser frenectomy can be costly and requires the skills to perform the procedure.

Question- What kind of anesthesia is used in a frenectomy?

Answer- Most doctors use local anesthesia to do a frenectomy. With this anesthesia, you will not be unconscious and will not feel any pain during the procedure.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed frenectomy and its effects on your smile. Now you will not say: “Frenectomy ruined my smile!” 

There are some side effects with a frenectomy. But not everyone gets them. Moreover, they can be treated. So the benefits of a frenectomy outweigh the small risks of side effects associated with it.

Dr Umme Hurayra

Dr Umme Hurayra

Hi, I'm Umme Hurayra. I am currently studying MBBS in Mymensingh Medical College. Medical science is an incredible thing. I like to share my knowledge with everyone.

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