Labial Frenectomy After Braces: Is It Necessary?

Pediatric Dentist Hutto

A frenulum is a piece of tissue that is attached to the tongue and lips. While frenula are naturally occurring, depending on its structure, this tissue can potentially “tie” the lip, tongue, or cheeks down. This restriction reduces the mouth’s natural function, further affecting feeding, breathing, sleep, speech, and maintenance of oral health. The labial frenulum, also called a lip tie, can play a part in causing large gaps between the two front teeth.

Children who had braces or aligners to correct a gap between their teeth may have to get a frenectomy if the gap returns once the braces are removed. Some dentists will perform the procedure before or during orthodontic treatment, and Dr. Amy of Bumble Bee Pediatric Dentistry works closely with orthodontists to determine if and when a frenectomy is appropriate.

Sometimes Gaps Bounce Back After Brace

For the most part, dentists recommend waiting to do a frenectomy until after braces.

For many, braces or aligners will fix that gap for good! Or at least, with regular use of retainers, corrected teeth should stay in their new positions. In some cases, though, that stubborn frenulum pushes apart the front teeth anyway. This is usually your dentist’s indicator that it’s time for the procedure.

What Is A Frenectomy?

A frenulum is a band of connective tissue on the lip physically separating the two front teeth and making it harder for orthodontic treatment to stick. A frenectomy is a simple oral surgery that cuts or modifies the frenulum.

Typically, topical anesthesia will be enough to prevent the child from feeling uncomfortable during the procedure. At Bumble Bee Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Amy uses the Solea CO2 Laser to negate the need to sedate children beyond laughing gas. With a laser frenectomy, children feel less pain, have little to no bleeding, and heal faster than after traditional lip tie surgeries.

Can You Get a Frenectomy to Close a Tooth Gap?

For a long time, we have believed that frenectomies will cause scar tissue that can permanently separate the front teeth–meaning, they won’t ever respond to braces. However, early intervention has prevented scar tissue formation in some, according to International Orthodontics. Another NIH study showed that many dentists prefer to do frenectomies during orthodontic treatment but before the gap closes.

Ultimately, it will depend on your child, your dentist, and you. Some dentists perform frenectomies before braces, some will only do it after. The ultimate goal? A long-lasting, beautiful smile that also facilitates great dental health.

Our Pediatric Dentist in Hutto, Texas Offers Laser Frenectomies

If your child has a tooth gap caused by a lip tie, visit Bumble Bee Pediatric Dentistry to talk about your options. Our lip tie specialist can determine the best time to remove a frenulum that may interfere with your child’s dental health and orthodontic treatment.

With laser dentistry, we can reduce lip tie symptoms and set them on the right path for straight, healthy teeth. Laser frenectomies heal faster, hurt less, and are less scary for children who may be at risk of developing a fear of the dentist. Call today to schedule your child’s assessment for a frenectomy!