What is a Functional Frenectomy?
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A functional frenectomy is a procedure designed to alleviate tension caused by the frenum, which are muscular attachment strips in the mouth. These segments of tissue connect the lips to the upper and lower gums (referred to as the superior or inferior labial frenulum, respectively), as well as the tongue to the floor of the mouth (called the lingual frenulum). The size and degree of restriction levied by the frenum can have an array of physiological effects on orofacial function and other parts of the body. For example, a large labial frenulum can prevent the two front teeth in either the upper or lower dental arches from coming together, creating a gap between teeth. A frenulum that is too short and restrictive can also cause gum recession, as well as speech issues in the case of an irregularly shaped lingual frenulum. As these muscular attachments contain tiny fibers that run through the chest and spine, frenal anomalies can even affect posture and cause pain in the shoulders and neck.
A functional frenectomy is a relatively simple, in-office procedure offered by Encino dentist Martin Gorman, DDS to release the constraints caused by problematic frenum and restore proper function of the oral structures. Using a local anesthesia or sedation techniques, treatment involves freeing the frenulum with an incision or laser. This can improve speech impediments, prevent further gum recession, relieve physiological impacts on the shoulders and neck, and allow proper alignment of the teeth when performed in complement to orthodontic treatment. Furthermore, myofunctional therapy both before and after a functional frenectomy can help patients establish better patterns of facial muscle movement. This comprehensive approach can optimize speaking, chewing, and breathing function—ultimately ensuring the long-term success of the procedure.
For more information about the indications for a functional frenectomy, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gorman, please contact our practice today.