“Your child needs a frenectomy.” No parent likes to hear that a child needs surgery, especially if they’ve never heard the word before and don’t know what is involved. Dr. Blake Perkins, who practices dentistry with New Image Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Vancouver, Washington, explains the procedure in this report.
Dr. Perkins says that the place to start the explanation is to understand what a frenum is. “A frenum is a connective tissue attachment that holds movable tissues of the mouth and stabilizes them.” One such frenum is found under the tongue. A frenectomy, Dr. Perkins explains, is simply reducing or even removing the connecting tissue to permit the tongue to move more freely.
The most common reason a child would need such a surgical procedure is when the child is born “tongue-tied.” When the frenum restricts the proper movement of the tongue, the frenum must be reduced or removed. A frenum such as this can interfere with a baby’s ability to breast feed and, later on, can impair a child’s ability to speak properly.
Dr. Perkins points out that a frenectomy is not a particularly risky procedure. The risks are essentially limited to swelling, some pain afterwards, and possibly some bleeding. As to pain involved in the procedure itself, the use of a local anesthetic and a soft-tissue laser make the procedure “relatively pain-free.” The healing time, Dr. Perkins says, is about seven to ten days. Post-operative pain can be managed with an over the counter pain medicine.
Dr. Blake Perkins is with New Image Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Vancouver, Washington. He is a graduate of the Case Western Reserve School of Dentistry. Dr. Perkins spent several years as an Air Force dentist and trained with specialists from all aspects of dentistry. He still serves his country through the Air National Guard. The Health & Wellness Network is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.