Essenmacher Family Dental

Frenectomy Vs. Frenotomy: Which Procedure Is Right for You?


Oral health is a critical aspect of our general well-being. The slightest issues, such as tongue ties, can considerably impact normal tongue function, contributing to speech impediments. Fortunately, procedures like frenotomy and frenectomy present solutions.

What’s the difference between frenectomy and frenotomy, and which one is the best fit for you?

What Is a Frenum?

The frenum is a thin, connective tissue in the mouth—a piece of tissue that attaches the upper lip to the gums or the tongue to the floor of the mouth. There are two types: the labial frenum connects the center of the upper lip to the gums between the central incisors, while the lingual frenum attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. An abnormal or tight frenum, often referred to as a tongue tie or lip tie, might necessitate intervention.

What Is Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of a band of tissue called the frenum. There are two types of frenectomy: lingual frenectomy, which addresses the lingual frenulum under the tongue, and labial frenectomy, which targets the labial frenum between the upper lip and gum tissue. An oral surgeon often performs this procedure to correct oral function and speech difficulties caused by a restrictive frenum.

What Is Frenotomy?

On the other hand, a frenotomy is a simpler procedure that involves making a small incision in the frenum to release tension and allow for improved tongue movement. It is often used to address tongue ties in infants and is typically performed by a healthcare professional trained in this specific procedure. Frenotomy is a less invasive option compared to frenectomy and can be done using techniques like a soft tissue laser.


What Benefits Do Frenectomy and Frenotomy Offer?

1. Improved Oral Function

These procedures significantly enhance oral hygiene by enabling effective brushing and flossing. In addition to enabling effective brushing and flossing, these procedures can also assist in preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. This leads to healthier gums and teeth, reducing risks of gum disease and cavities, and therefore promoting overall oral health.

2. Unhindered Tongue Movement

Frenectomy and Frenotomy ease conditions like tongue ties that restrict tongue movement, thus promoting tongue flexibility. Not only do these procedures promote tongue flexibility, but they also improve basic movements like eating, swallowing, and even kissing. By easing conditions such as tongue ties, patients can enjoy greater oral comfort and functionality in their daily lives.

3. Alleviation of Speech Difficulties

These soft tissue laser procedures can rectify speech difficulties from restricted tongue movement. By rectifying speech difficulties, these soft tissue laser procedures inevitably boost the individuals’ confidence when communicating. They have the potential to bring about significant improvements in both personal and professional interactions, making speech therapy an investment towards one’s personal growth.

4. Enhanced Feeding Time

Frenotomy for infants experiencing feeding issues is particularly beneficial due to improved tongue tie. The benefits of Frenotomy extend beyond just improved tongue ties for infants; it also ensures proper nutrient intake by easing feeding difficulties. This procedure can contribute to the healthy growth and development of the infant, as proper feeding is a gateway to crucial vitamins and minerals necessary for their well-being.

5. Prevents Gum Recession

By reducing the pull of the frenum on the gum tissue, these procedures can help avoid gingival recessions. This aids in avoiding eventual gum diseases that could lead to severe dental issues like periodontitis. A healthy, stretch-free gum line also contributes to an attractive, confident smile.

Frenectomy Vs Frenotomy: What Are Their Differences?

Procedure Complexity

In terms of its complexity, a frenectomy could be considered more complicated than a frenotomy. The removal of the entire frenum can sometimes demand minor suturing or the use of tissue adhesive to aid healing. As it is a more invasive procedure, it requires more careful post-procedure management.

On the other hand, the simplicity of the frenotomy procedure is one of its main advantages. The procedure is straightforward, requires less time to complete, and typically doesn’t necessitate extensive post-procedure care.

Use Cases

A frenectomy procedure is often recommended in situations where the frenum is noticeably tight or restrictive, leading to significant day-to-day issues. These can range from difficulties with speech to problems maintaining oral hygiene to difficulties with breastfeeding in newborns. The goal is to alleviate these issues by offering greater freedom of movement.

While it is less extensive, a frenotomy can still significantly improve the quality of life, particularly for infants with a tongue-tie impacting breastfeeding. By making a small incision in the frenum, the practitioner can expand the tongue’s range of motion, easing feeding processes.

Recovery Time

The more invasive nature of a frenectomy means a slightly longer recovery time. While individual experiences can vary, recovery from a frenectomy often takes around one to two weeks. During recovery, patients are instructed to maintain good oral hygiene and may be prescribed analgesics to manage pain.

However, the recovery from a frenotomy is shorter due to its less invasive nature. Besides mild discomfort post-procedure, most patients recover within a few days to a week and can return to normal routines relatively quickly.

Anesthesia Requirement

Due to the extensiveness of Frenectomy, the use of local anesthesia (and occasionally general anesthesia, specifically in younger patients or individuals with special needs) is common practice. This helps ensure the patient is as comfortable as possible during the procedure.

On the contrary, one of the advantages of a frenotomy is that it can often be performed without the use of anesthesia, especially for newborns. Due to the swiftness of the procedure, it is typically tolerable without anesthesia, though each case is evaluated individually for the patient’s comfort and safety.

What Factors Will Dictate the Required Procedure?

  • Age of the Patient. Frenotomy for infants is often preferred because it’s less invasive. The younger the patient is, the faster the healing process usually occurs, making frenotomy a favorable option for infants. This procedure for newborns can potentially prevent future speech or feeding problems that might arise from a tongue tie.
  • Severity of the Tongue Tie. Severe tongue ties typically require a frenectomy, while less severe cases might require a frenotomy. The extent of the tongue tie directly affects the method of treatment. The greater the severity, the more invasive the procedure. Hence, a frenectomy might be preferred. In contrast, a less invasive frenotomy could suffice for mild tongue tie cases, reducing healing time and post-procedure discomfort.
  • Associated Complications. A comprehensive approach may be required for patients experiencing significant feeding or speech development problems, including a frenectomy. In cases where tongue ties have led to significant complications, such as severe speech impediments or feeding difficulties, a holistic approach might be necessary. This usually involves a frenectomy combined with speech or feeding therapy to ensure comprehensive improvement in oral function.
  • Oral Surgeon’s Medical Advice. The choice of procedure rests heavily on the diagnosing oral surgeon’s judgment. The surgeon’s experience, the patient’s overall health, and the specific attributes of the tongue tie weigh into the decision. Striking a balance between effectively treating the tongue tie and ensuring patient comfort is always of utmost concern.


What Is the Average Cost of These Procedures?

The cost of a frenectomy and frenotomy is dependent on various factors. These include the complexity of the case, the location where the procedure will be carried out, and the oral surgeon’s fees. It’s highly recommended to consult your oral surgeon to understand the cost implication and if there are any financing options or insurance coverages that can be leveraged to offset the cost.

On average, expect to pay between $200 and $500 for frenotomy or frenectomy without insurance coverage, as they improve the restriction of tongue movement and overall oral health.

Frenotomy Vs Frenectomy: Which Procedure Should You Consider?

Frenotomy is a relatively simple procedure, often performed on infants experiencing feeding or latch issues due to a tongue tie. The procedure involves making a small cut in the band of tissue (frenulum), allowing for better tongue movement and effective latch during feeding time.

On the other hand, a frenectomy is a bit more invasive but often necessary in more severe cases. It involves entirely removing the frenulum, which can be a better long-term solution for deeper cases of tongue-tie or labial ties that can lead to gum recession or gum disease.

Seek Expert Advice on Oral Health Concerns With Essenmacher Family Dental Today

Understanding the difference between frenectomy and frenulectomy is vital in making the right decision to improve oral health. At Essenmacher Family Dental, we place your well-being at the forefront. Be it issues with breastfeeding or tongue tie surgery, we deliver professional care tailored to your needs, paving the way for better speech development and improving the quality of life.

If you or a family member is experiencing oral health concerns related to a tight frenum, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. Feel welcome to contact our top-notch team of professionals for a thorough examination and a personalized treatment plan. Your perfect smile is our priority!