The Frenectomy in Orthodontics
Frenectomies are commonly performed in orthodontics to keep a diastema closed. A diastema is a gap between your two front teeth created by a thick piece of tissue called a “frenum.” You can reshape, shorten or remove this tissue with a procedure called a frenectomy. This procedure is typically done towards the end of orthodontic treatment or after treatment, depending on what the treating orthodontist recommends.
Most orthodontist will recommend a frenectomy when a gap is present on the upper front teeth. While this procedure may sound serious to a patient or parent, it is a very common and easy procedure performed in the office with minimal pain. It could either be done with a scalpel or with a laser. Using a laser will cause no bleeding while using a scalpel will cause bleeding and sutures may also be needed.
How a frenectomy is done:
A frenectomy can be done two different ways. When using a scalpel the doctor will numb the area and remove the tissue. There may be some sutures placed to close the incision. The other way of performing a frenectomy is by utilizing a laser. This is a more modern way of removing the tissue with no sutures necessary. There is minimal or no bleeding. During the laser procedure, the patient must stay very still, being careful not to move. As the doctor performs this procedure, the assistant is in charge of the HVE, taking care of saliva, blood and even smoke from the laser! Using a laser will require a strong topical anesthesia or numbing of the area. The procedure usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
What to expect after a frenectomy:
There may be some slight discomfort after the procedure is done. Patients are encouraged to keep the area clean and do salt water rinses. An over the counter pain medication may be needed to keep the discomfort to a minimum. There may be some potential risks like bleeding, infection or swelling. In the end it will help ensure your smile stays perfect after going through orthodontic treatment. Patients appreciate the the final result!
Written by: Norma Abrica