ADA Accessibility Information


Dr. Cynthia Pelley
Call us today at (503) 235-0313

Pelley TourOffice Button
Pelley ReadTestimonials Button
slide show image img1
slide show image img1

Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
Sellwood Location Visit us on Google

8708 SE 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
(503) 235-0313
Click Here for Directions

ig badge 48  facebook of dimensions 40 wide by 40 high  Review us on Google+ Review us on Yelp!

Hospital Privileges

Proud Member
OAD logo  OAPD logo
adsa logo ADA logo  oda logo


Does Your Child Need a Frenectomy?

Posted on 11/23/2015 by Cynthia Pelley
A young boy happy with his new smile after his frenectomy treatment!Have you noticed that your child has an excess band of muscle tissue that is connected to his inner upper or lower lip or floor of the mouth? Are you noticing that he is having difficulty with speech? In some cases, a frenectomy procedure may be needed in order to remove this excess tissue, and your child's oral surgeon can determine the risks and benefits of this procedure.

When Might a Frenectomy Be Warranted?

When someone has a large frenum situated beneath their tongue, they may have difficulty moving the tongue freely. This can cause problems with speech and may result in a tongue mobility issue known as ankyloglossia, otherwise known as "tongue tie."

A lingual frenctomy can remove this excess tissue so that the tongue can again move freely, and there are several signs that children may be suffering from this condition and could benefit from the procedure:

•  Tongue tie could interfere with feeding as infants
•  From ages 12-18 months, your child may have a difficult time starting to talk
•  Your child may notice that he is not able to stick out his tongue as far as his peers
•  In some cases, a frenum can attach between the front teeth of the upper jaw, and this could cause problems with your child's permanent teeth coming in at the right time.
•  Older children may notice the frenum found under the tongue seems to get stuck between their bottom teeth
•  For older patients, a frenum problem can interfere with a denture's ability to properly fit into the mouth.

In other cases, you may not notice any signs that a problem exists with the frenum, but your child's dentist might. He could determine that the frenum is pulling gum tissue away from the lower front teeth, and this could lead to periodontal issues.

How Can You Prepare for a Frenectomy?

Before a frenectomy is recommended for your child, your dentist will consider several factors, including the chance that his condition might correct itself eventually without surgery. You should first take your child to a speech therapist to determine if the problem can be corrected by less invasive means, including tongue exercises that might be able to increase mobility.

What Happens During the Procedure?

During a frenectomy, your child's surgeon will likely remove the excess frenum using a laser or a scalpel. While both procedures are effective, a scalpel can require more sutures, while a laser can reduce this need while also minimizing bleeding. Younger children may need to have general anesthesia administered during the procedure so that they remain completely still, even when the less painful laser method is used. The entire procedure is usually completed in 15-30 minutes.

Are There Risks Associated with the Procedure?

A frenectomy is a fairly safe procedure. Like any surgery, infection and bleeding are possibilities, but both issues are rare following a frenectomy. Additionally, if this surgery doesn't solve the initial problem, it may need to be redone, and redoing a frenectomy from under the tongue is actually quite common. On the other hand, a labial frenectomy to remove a frenum found between the upper front teeth is usually quite successful and rarely needs to be redone.

What Will I Need to Do to Follow Up?

A frenectomy will take a week or two to heal completely. During this time, you may need to give your child over-the-counter medications to deal with discomfort or swelling, and you should have him rinse with a warm salt water solution in order to keep the area clean. During this time, you'll need to return to the office if you have stitches that must be removed. Otherwise, if your stitches are intended to dissolve, you likely won't have to come back to the office so soon.

Please contact us if you have any questions about the frenectomy treatment.

Home  | Our Practice  | For Parents  | Emergencies  | Contact Us  | Meet Dr. Pelley  | Meet Our Team  | Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist  | Why Choose Little Smiles  | Financial Policy  | FAQ  | Blog  | Sealants For Kids  | Forms  | First Visit  | Baby Teeth Matter  | Tips for Brushing Teeth  | Choosing the Right Toothpaste  | Understanding Cavities  | Mouthguards  | Sedation Dentistry

Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry - Cynthia Pelley | | (503) 235-0313
8708 SE 17th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202