Frenums are strands of tissue in the mouth which extend from the lips and the cheek to the gums. (You can probably detect one of your frenums by placing your tongue in the space between your upper lip and your central incisors.)
While the frenums have no definitive purpose, in certain cases a frenum can prevent teeth from staying in place after they have been orthodontically moved together. For example, after a patient's central incisors have been brought together in order to close the space between them, an excessive frenum can possibly cause the teeth to separate again.
Why would a single strand of tissue cause the teeth to re-separate after they have been closed?
Because studies have shown that frenum can be composed partly of muscle fibers. The muscle fiber component causes tension and force on the surrounding teeth, causing them to move apart.
Frenectomies are very predictable, easy, and safe procedures. All that is involved is getting the frenum area anesthetized, releasing the frenum with an incision, and then placing some dissolvable sutures to facilitate healing.
For children and adolescents, oftentimes nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") is employed to help reduce the patient's anxiety. The frenectomy site will be sore for 24-48 hours, and medications will help alleviate any discomfort. The site will usually be observed a week later to ensure proper healing.
The frenectomy is low-risk, high-reward procedure which will help prevent orthodontically-treated teeth from re-separating, with results that will last a lifetime.
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