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What a Frenectomy is and Why Your Child Might Need One

Lisa, a reader from Idaho recently took her children to the dentist.  The dentist remarked that one of her children might need a frenectomy.  Unsure of exactly what a frenectomy was, Lisa opted to learn more about the procedure instead of subjecting her child to surgery.

What is a Frenectomy?

Lingual Frenum and Labial Frenum
©Alex Luengo/

A frenectomy is simply the removal of a frenum in the mouth.  A frenum is a muscular attachment between two tissues.  There are two frena (the plural form of frenum) in the mouth that can sometimes obstruct normal function and are candidates for frenectomies.  These frena are called the lingual frenum, which connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, and the maxillary labial frenum, which connects the inside of your upper lip to your gums just above your upper two front teeth.

To the right, you can see a diagram of the mouth and the major frena that are present.

Lingual Frenum and Frenectomy

The lingual frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth.  Sometimes, the lingual frenum can run all the way to the tip of the tongue, causing a person to be “tongue-tied.”  This is shown in the photo below:

Lingual Frenum (Courtesy of Enigma51 on Wikimedia Commons)
Note the prominent lingual frenum below the tongue that causes this person to be tongue-tied.

A restrictive lingual frenum is a common occurrence in young children.  Normally, children are able to accommodate well to a prominent lingual frenum and can surprisingly eat and speak normally.  If the attachment is extends all the way to the tip of the tongue, then a frenectomy may be the only choice to give the child normal tongue function.

A lingual frenectomy is a simple procedure and involves numbing the tongue with an anesthetic.  A small incision is then made which will free the tongue from the floor of the mouth.  The incision then will be sewn up to allow the tissue to heal.

Maxillary Labial Frenum and Frenectomy

The maxillary labial frenum attaches the upper lip to the gums just above the upper two front teeth.  If you move your tongue up between your upper lip and your teeth, you will feel this buy phentermine 37.5 thin band of muscle.

Maxillary Labial Frenum Courtesy of Dale Rosenbach on Wikipedia
A Prominent Maxillary Labial Frenum

A prominent maxillary labial frenum can cause a large gap to occur between the upper two front teeth.  This can be a concern for parents.  However, unless the frenum is causing a lot of pain on the upper lips and gums, immediate treatment is not necessary.  Treatment should be delayed until the upper permanent teeth have come in.  Many times, the replacement of the baby teeth with permanent teeth will naturally close the gap between the two front teeth.  If the gap doesn’t close, then it can be treated using braces, as is shown in the above photo.

If the teeth begin to drift apart again after braces have moved them together, then a maxillary labial frenectomy can be considered if it is determined to be the cause of the gap.  A maxillary labial frenectomy should not be attempted before the gap is closed, because scar tissue can form making it impossible to get rid of the space between the upper two front teeth.

Here is a photo of how a maxillary labial frenectomy looks on the patient that is pictured above:

Maxillary Labial Frenectomy.  Photo Courtesy of Dale Rosenbach.
This maxillary labial frenectomy was performed after the two front teeth had been brought together using braces.


In conclusion, I would recommend only getting a frenectomy when the frenum is obviously causing pain or impeding normal function.

A lingual frenectomy should be considered if a child is having trouble eating, swallowing, or speaking.

A maxillary labial frenectomy should be considered during the “baby teeth years” only if it is causing the child pain.  If the maxillary labial frenum is causing a gap between the upper two front teeth, then a frenectomy should be considered only after closing the gap with braces.  If a maxillary labial frenectomy is performed before the upper two front teeth are moved together, then the subsequent scar tissue could make it impossible to move the upper two front teeth together, leaving the child with a permanent gap between their two front teeth.

If you have any questions about frenectomies, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments.



  1. I am 30 years old. I just started having bad pain about a week ago. I looked inside my upper lip and see I have what looks like a skin tag on my maxillary labial frenum. The pain has lasted for about a week. I don’t see anything to worry about for adults, mostly children. Is this concern, or should I look into having this removed if the pain continues, thanks.

    • Hi Jennifer – I just had an oral pathology class this semester (took my final on Monday!). The only thing that comes to mind is that it could be what’s known as a frenal tag. A frenal tag is just a small outgrowth of tissue that usually occurs on the upper labial frenum. They are normally asymptomatic. They are also rather common — I have one, I’ll try to post a picture at the end of the week when I’m done with finals.

      Try pulling your upper lip back and looking in the mirror to see if it looks like there is a tiny growth on your frenum. If there is, then it is most likely a frenal tag, but you’d want to see a dentist to be sure.

      As far as it hurting, I have irritated mine in the past and it’s been a little painful for a few days. I’m not sure if it was something I ate, or if I just stretched my frenum too far when opening my mouth or something like that. If the pain persists, I would definitely have it checked out.

      I hope that helps. Thanks for the comment!

      • I also have a frenum tag. My 4th baby was born she was both lip and tongue tied and so I peeked in all of my other children’s mouths as well as my own and that’s when I spotted the tag. Pretty weird it took me 35 years to discover this!

  2. I am 34 year male. I have been in braces for 10 months. I had a space between my two upper center teeth. At the beginning of orthodontal treatment the orthodontist closed the gap between my two center upper teeth and wrapped a wire around the two brackets to keep the teeth together. However, after that I have been feeling a constant soreness between those teeth – the two center upper teeth. I asked the orthodontist what she thinks it is and she did not have an explaination for the soreness. So, I have been continually feeling the soreness for 10 months. It feels like something is being squeezed or pinched in between those two teeth. All my teeth feel fine. Do you think it could be an issue with the frenum?

    Thanks in advance for you assistance.

    • Hi Ben, Does it feel like it is right between the two front teeth, or perhaps closer to the tongue side or lip side?

      Here is an image of the tongue side of someone’s mouth on MedScape:

      As you can see, right behind their front teeth on the tongue side there is something called the incisive papilla which looks like it might be slighty irritated in that picture. If you feel with your tongue, does that feel sensitive?

      In some of the surgical photos I have seen of frenectomies, they have not only removed part of the frenum on the lip side, but they have gone through behind the teeth to trim down some of that excess tissue that may be continuous with the labial frenum.

      My guess is that you have some excess tissue that is not accustomed to having your teeth so close together. Now that your teeth are close together, this tissue is irritated because is is being compacted between your two front teeth. Over time, the tissue may adjust and get smaller and the irritation will go away. If not, you may want to get a consultation with an oral surgeon to truly diagnose the source of your pain and see what they can do to alleviate it.

      I hope that helps. Thanks for the comment!

  3. My daughter is 5 y/o and the dentist is recommending a labial frenectomy because she has a gap. I am hesitant because it is surgery and this “problem” doesn’t disturb my daughter expect for the cosmetic reason of having a gap between her teeth. Should I still go through with it?


    • Hi Bonnie – This actually happened to my sister. She took her daughter (I think she was around 8 years old) to the dentist and he recommended a frenectomy. She opted not to because she didn’t want to put her daughter through it and the next time she went, the dentist didn’t mention anything.

      At five years old, I would say to hold off, but then again, I haven’t seen your daughter in person. In the book McDonald and Avery’s Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent it shows a case of a preschool child who had a frenectomy and then the adult teeth came in perfectly without a gap between them. It also says that “The decision regarding treatment of the labial frenum should be made only after a careful evaluation to determine whether the result will be undesirable if the condition is allowed to remain.”

      In the book Pediatric Dentistry by Pinkham, (which I referenced when I originally wrote this article) it recommends not performing a frenectomy until the space is closed with orthodontic brackets (braces) so that scar tissue doesn’t interfere with the closing of the space.

      As you can see, there does seem to be a slight difference of opinion depending on the source. If it were my child, I would hold off on a frenectomy until the permanent teeth had come in. Usually spaces close by themselves once the permanent canines have erupted. If not, there shouldn’t be any reason why you couldn’t close the space then with braces and then have a frenectomy if it is interfering with the orthodontic work.

      I hope that helps. Thanks for your question – it helped me learn a bit more about this from other sources!

      • My 8-year-old daughter just had this done two months due to gap and large frectum attached between her top teeth to inside her lip (they recommended once her permanent teeth were in) and they look like they are already coming together!!!

        I also had this procedure done when I was 8 or 9 years old and my teeth came together beautifully after that and I never had to wear braces. I think most dentists today want to recommend braces because its ALOT of money for them because it is very expensive for patients. BTW – this procedure for my daughter was nothing – laser frectomony – only a 10 minute procedure and she was outside playing that same day!!! This procedure will cost you around $500.00 compared to thousands of dollars for braces…. I say GO for it once permanent teeth come in and you have a better change of not getting braces!! It worked for my mother, it worked for myself and looks like it is working for my 8-year-old!!!!

        • Hi Dnikas – Thanks for your comment! We’ve been taught that a frenectomy shouldn’t be done until the permanent canine teeth come in because those teeth often push the front four teeth together and close the gap naturally – without braces or a frenectomy.

          When I was about 8, I had a gap between my front teeth that I could fit a nickel between (it was about 2 mm wide). A couple of years later after my canine teeth had come in, the gap had closed by itself – without braces! This may not happen to everyone, but I’m more conservative when it comes to surgical procedures like a frenectomy.

          • Hi Tom,
            I have a 9 year old girl. She just finished a 9 month phase of orthodontia which closed the gap between her front teeth. She has all 4 upper permanent incisors and we are waiting for the permanent upper canines to come in. I saw the gap in her front teeth widen just a bit during the week that we were waiting for her retainer to be made, but now that she is wearing the retainer each night the gap is not noticeable. She has a prominent maxillary labial frenum.
            The orthodontist is strongly recommending a labial frenectomy within the next month, and also stating that the gap will re-open soon if the surgery isn’t done.
            For us the cost is not an issue; I just want to make sure that I’m not subjecting her to surgery unnecessarily or too soon. When I saw your comment above about waiting until the canine teeth come in first, it made me pause.
            Here is my question: Do you think it is reasonable to obtain a second opinion under the circumstances, or should we just do what her orthodontist is telling us?

            • Hi Jennifer – I’m not sure if you read my other articles, but I do reference some quotes from an orthodontics textbook and a pediatric dentistry textbook. Here’s one on frenectomies and braces and another one talking about at what age should a child get a frenectomy. Take a look at those and then read over the quotes from the textbooks I referenced. They both seem to recommend holding off on the frenectomy until after the canines have come in. However, it is important to consider the fact that your daughter’s orthodontist knows her individually and is trying to provide treatment that is in her best interest.

              If I were you, I would probably talk to your daughter’s orthodontist to see why he is recommending it now, when most textbooks recommend waiting until after the canines have come in.

              I hope that helps – let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for your comment, Jennifer!

      • Like some of the others have posted, my daughter’s orthodontist is recommending a maxillary labial frenectomy after just finishing her phase 1 treatment. He says it to to prevent a gap or a “black diamond” shaped gap in her front teeth that will eventually not be able to be corrected if it does occur. She never did have a gap, not before her orthodontic procedure and I paid to have braces put on her front teeth to prevent one from forming while expanding her palate. It is not really the extra $300 that bothers me (although I was not excited about it) but It seems a little unnecessary and perhaps in “prevention” of something that might not occur. My instinct is to not do this. She still has many baby teeth (including canines) and my instinct is a to wait and see. Is the ‘point of no return’ on this in your 20’s or before exiting grade school? When can you begin to notice that it might be a problem? Is there any medical reason, besides cosmetic, that I should feel urgency?

  4. I am a 29 yr old female, I am scheduled for a frenectomy for a gap in my front teeth. My gap has been closed with the braces only to reopen. My gap has closed again and all teeth are in place…my gap is completely gone….does this still mean I need a frenectomy, or could my gap stay closed on it’s own with the use of a retainer?

    • Hi Shannon, your gap may or may not stay closed with a retainer. Your dentist/orthodontist will be able to answer that question for you better.

      In most cases where something isn’t right in the mouth, you want to not only correct it, but remove the cause of the problem. In your case, you have corrected the gap, but you probably want to remove the cause (the frenum) in order to help the gap stay closed.

      Hopefully that answers your question. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Hi i’ve just started to read up about this area as i think my ten yr old has problems his 2 front teeth have a sizable gap and it’s getting worse, they are now slanting across ways in his mouth, the next two teeth are through almost behind the front two. Looking closely at them his frenium (?) actually starts at the bottom of his gum inbetween his teeth, there is about 2.5mm thickness of gum and tissue. He is now complaining that his front 4 teeth are painful when he eats. When he last saw the dentist she said she wanted to wait till she looked at his bite (i think that was what she was looking at, his front teeth are very far forward compared to his lower teeth) but as this is now causing him discomfort eating should this part of the problem be dealt with sooner rather than later? Any advice would be gratefully recieved so i have an understanding before emergency dental appointment tomorrow, thanks

    • Hi Sarah – My frenum used to come down pretty far. It would sometimes hurt off and on as I was growing up. Eventually, it ended up tearing slightly when I was eating which helped my front teeth come closer together. I still needed an orthodontic appliance to move them even closer together. However, my lateral incisors didn’t come in behind my central incisors, like in your son’s case. I do remember being able to fit a nickel through my two front teeth (I was an odd child!), so it was a fairly wide gap.

      Without seeing your child, it does sound like he will need some form of orthodontic therapy such as braces to help correct his bite. Once this is taken care of, I believe his bite would no longer be painful and he will have a normal relationship between his upper and lower teeth. As long as he doesn’t have a finger-sucking or tongue-thrusting problem, his teeth would probably stay well-aligned.

      Take this advice with a grain of salt, as I am still a dental student, trying to learn a lot and have not seen your child in person.

  6. You forgot to mention that a freneum can also occur in the lower region, between the lingual side of lower lip and attached to just below two front, lower, teeth. People should look for this in their childrens’ mouths to prevent eventual gum recession. I had a lower freneum as a child; one dentist finally noticed, when I was twelve, that it was startting to pull the gum down a bit under one of my front, lower teeth (looks like a very slight gum recession). Luckily, at age 50 that gum recession hasn’t worsened. However, I am always having to explain to a knew dentist or hygenist that this occured decades ago from a pulling down by the original freneum before it was trimmed a bit, not due to my gum suddenly receding in that region due to something else. I suspect that gravity had something to do with that original pull of the lower freneum on gum tissue over the first twelve years of my life.

    • Hi Renata – That’s true, thanks for pointing that out. Some people do have a prominent frenum between their lower lip and lower gums, although it’s not as common as a prominent frenum on the upper lip or under the tongue. I’m glad you got it taken care of when you were young!

      If you run your tongue all the way around your mouth between your gums and your cheek, you can feel several smaller frena (plural of frenum) that help attach the cheek/lip to the gums. Thanks for your comments!

      • I was told by my 16 year old daughters dentist that she needs to have a lower frenectomy. He said that it is pulling her gums away from her teeth. Do they just snip it and is there any type of recovery from it? Is there anything I should be concerned about? She plays soccer and I wasn’t sure if I should wait until her HS soccer season is over which should be in a few weeks.

  7. dear

    i would be very appriciated if you answer my 2 questions

    1-i had jaw ,maxila surgery and gummy simle ,the surgeon removed my upper LABIAL FRENUM and now i feel my upper lip’s distacnce to the bottom of my nose is so long and my upper lips seems now to thin and comming to low after passing 4 years of sugery.however i do not have that gummy simle that much but i am not happy with my look there any possibility to have taht tissue again?if yes,how doo they make it?and from which part of my body they will cut that tissue ?

    2-as i mentioned ,distance of my upper lip to the nose is so high and it will give me a little menly taht any possibility to make this distance shorter and fuller lips?

    thansk alot

    • Hi Elie,

      1 – It is probably possible to reattach the frenum by stitching your upper lip back to the gums. It most likely wouldn’t ever return to how it was originally. However, even if you had that done, I don’t think that it would bring your lip back up very much.

      2 – I know that some periodontists perform an upper lip lengthening procedure, and they would probably be able to remove some tissue to make your lip look shorter.

      You may want to discuss this with a plastic surgeon who could give you more options on how to make your lips fuller and make them appear to be shorter than they really are. Sorry that I couldn’t be of too much help, but this is a bit beyond my area of expertise. Thanks for your comment, Elie!

      • Dear Tom,

        thanks alot for responding me fast

        may i ask you how they would reattach the frenum by stitching my upper lip back to the gums while there is not remained any tissue now?how they will make the tissue to stich it again?

        2-why it does not look the same as before?

        3-what is the best way for tooth to be whiten ?is that safe to do it yearly?i think i have done lazer (blue light)whitening 2 years ago and it works for me alot…like 3-4 lightening shade and now i need it.any idea please?

        4-do you know how much it cost if a surgeon will make my lips fuller ,like surgery one and how does it look?would it be look natural?

        4-i do not mean i have a wide lips but i meant the distance between upper lip to the end of my nose is long,can they make it shorter??by brining the upper lip alittle up and make it fuuler at the same time?

        thanks alot again and best of luck in your career.

        • Hi Elie – For some reason, I was thinking you still had some tissue there. In a frenotomy, they leave some of the frenum and just cut through it. But, since you had a frenectomy, it was probably all removed. There could be a way to reattach it, but I have not ever heard of that procedure.

          Due to all of the surgery you said you’ve had (four years worth), I don’t think that simply trying to re-attach the upper lip back to the gums would make everything go back to how it was. These are just my thoughts, and to be honest I’m not experienced in those types of surgeries, so I’m probably not the best person to ask 🙂 I would recommend getting in touch with the oral surgeon or periodontist who you’ve been working with to see if there’s any way to obtain the results you want. Since they’ve worked with you, they would know much better than me what is possible with your anatomy.

          The blue light whitening method seems to work very fast. Unfortunately, teeth whitening can begin to “fade away” rather quickly. Since everyone is different, I can’t tell you how often it is safe for you to have the whitening done. The two most common complications of whitening are irritation of the pulp inside the tooth, which causes sensitivity and irritation of your gums if the whitening gel comes into contact with them. Your dentist will be able to let you know which whitening method will work best for you.

          I’m not sure about the costs of a surgeon making your lips fuller. That’s more in the realm of cosmetic surgery. Again, with the lip procedures, I really haven’t learned too much about how those work, so I’m not positive what could be done for you. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, but I hope that helped you at least a little bit! Thanks for your questions, Elie!

  8. Dear Dr Tom,

    thansk again for responding

    may i know which of the tooth whitening is long lasting?
    and the cost please?

    now i like to say thanks for reviwing my questionas and answering them,
    wish you more suceess

  9. My daughter is 17 months old, and just had a dental visit. The dentist said her frenum (sp? or correct word?) was attached really low on the top between her lip and gums. She said that explained why she was literally screaming her head off every time I brushed the top teeth, but not her bottom teeth. It is really hard to get her top teeth clean and she has residual plaque because I can’t get it all due to her lip being attached so far down. I also can’t get her lip up to see due to this. She doesn’t have a gap in her teeth, and it only seems to be in pain when I brush. I just worry that her teeth won’t get clean enough because of this. Is this reason to have a frenotomy done? Which would leave some of it there right…if not, what can I do to speed up the process of it tearing on it’s own? (That’s what the dentist said would happen eventually. But I don’t like causing her pain every night and bleeding. Any advice and where would she have this procedure done, pediatrician or dentist?

    • Hi Sarah – A prominent frenum can often tear on its own when children fall or hit their head on something – they end up giving themselves a frenotomy! If it causes her pain and bleeding every night while making it difficult for you to get her teeth clean, I would recommend talking to a pediatric dentist about having a frenotomy done. The pediatric dentist may or may not want to do the frenotomy. If not, they should be able to give you some recommendations on how to make sure that you are keeping your daughters teeth clean with the frenum in the way.

      The book Pediatric Dentistry by Dr. Pinkham says the following (with my words added in brackets!), “A prominent maxillary frenum, [what your daughter has] often accompanied by a large midline diastema, [a space between the two front teeth] is a common finding in children. It is often a cause for concern by parents and health care providers. Unless the frenum attachment exerts traumatic force on the facial attached gingiva of a permanent tooth (an uncommon situation), immediate treatment is unnecessary.”

      Basically, it looks like the author of that book in general would advise you to wait and see what happens with the permanent teeth. However, since it is obviously painful for your daughter and making her not like the whole brushing the teeth routine, it is probably best to find a pediatric dentist in your area to get a consultation and see what they recommend. Pediatric dentists are better trained in this area than general dentists. I hope that helps — it’s hard to offer a definitive suggestion when I haven’t seen your daughter or what her frenum looks like.

      By the way, I was born with a prominent maxillary frenum. I had a huge space between my permanent front teeth. I ended up tearing the frenum one afternoon playing either football or basketball.

      Have a great weekend, Sarah. Thanks for your comment!

    • Hi Felicia – It all depends on how much the frenum was cut during the frenotomy. While I couldn’t find any scientific papers talking about how often the frenum grows back, I talked with one of my professors and he told me that he has seen them grow back, which is why he recommends a complete frenectomy.

      I tore my frenum while playing as a kid, and it remains torn to this day; it hasn’t grown back. I think whether or not it grows back depends a lot on the person and how the frenum is cut. I hope that helps. Thanks for your comment!


        • I talked with one of my periodontics professors about this and he said he sees a lot of frenotomies grow back, which are commonly done with lasers.

          He mentioned that most complete frenectomies do not relapse. I hope that helps, Felicia.

          • Thanks for the response, Felicia. Unfortunately, we haven’t learned too much in the area of lingual frenectomies so I only know what I’ve read in my textbooks.

            I would assume that relapses are just as common in the lingual frenectomies as they are with the labial frenectomies.

            Whether or not they grow back probably depends on several factors – I guess you can cross your fingers that you don’t have to have it cut again. Good luck!

  10. Hello, My son is about 6 months into his orthodontia procedure and his Orthodontist has required he have a lingual frenectomy because the Frenum is pulling his mouth closed which interferes with the work she’s trying to accomplish. No one has ever told me he has had any problems being tongue-tied. His speech is fine and he doesn’t really have any physical handicaps related to his mouth, except maybe that he cannot whistle. I am having an ENT look at him because insurance will cover it if it is medically necessary but not if it is only cosmetically necessary. Have you ever heard about this kind of problem? What kind of disabilities should I consider in making my case for the medical need? What speech problem should I look for to determine if he actually has them and I just never noticed?


    • Hi Karen how old is your son? And my son (2ys Old) has been in speech therapy almost a year! Since the surgery his speech has improve.

    • Hi Karen,

      I did an electronic search for the word frenectomy through the entire Contemporary Orthodontics book by Proffit. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything about a lingual frenectomy – only multiple references to labial frenectomies. We only get a few classes covering basic orthodontics in dental school, so unfortunately since I couldn’t find any information in the book about it, I can’t help you in reference to orthodontics and lingual frenectomies.

      As for doing a lingual frenectomy, some reasons we would do them are:
      – Problems with speech (research indicates that only severe tongue-ties affect speech, however. Since you state you haven’t noticed anything, he probably doesn’t have any problems. It would most likely affect sounds where he’d need to touch his tongue to the roof of his mouth, like the “t” sound. If he can say “tongue-tied” he probably doesn’t have any problem with speech relating to being tongue-tied!)
      – Problems with sucking/feeding (for infants)
      – Problems with keeping the teeth clean. One of the pediatric dentists that teaches us stated that if you can’t touch the whole front surface of your lower front teeth, then they will consider doing a lingual frenectomy.

      I haven’t heard of doing them for orthodontics, but like I said, we haven’t learned too much in orthodontics, so it could very well be common.

      Here’s an article from the Journal of Periodontology that addresses treatment for ankyloglossia (tongue-tie) in more depth. Let me know if you have any other questions, Karen. Thanks for your comment!

  11. Hi my son is due to have a maxillary labial frenectomy before removal of his brace. He has never had a gap in the top front two teeth and I am still concerned that this operation is not necessary. Will he be able to play the saxophone as he is a very keen member of his local band?

    • Hi Sheila – The main reasons that I have been taught in dental school to perform a maxillary labial frenectomy are:

      1 – To help close a gap with braces
      2 – To prevent the gums from receding (if the frenum appears to be pulling them down and away from the teeth)
      3 – To help dentures fit better

      I think the only reason left that might apply to your son is #2. It could be that the frenum is pulling on his gums and that it would be good to get it removed. If I were you, I would ask your orthodontist why the frenectomy is necessary.

      As I’ve mentioned in a comment above, the book we use at my dental school recommends to not do the frenectomy until the braces have been off, the gap has re-opened, and then been closed again with braces. It does seem to be a less invasive approach than many practicing orthodontists take, but our pediatric dentistry department abides by most of the principles of that book, and that is how we’ve been taught.

      If it were my child and they said that the only reason they wanted to do the frenectomy was to prevent a gap from forming in the future, I would probably not have the frenectomy done.

      As for his saxophone playing – no guarantees – but I’m almost positive that it would not be affected. If it were, he would most likely quickly re-learn how to position his lips to make beautiful music.

      I hope that helps! Sorry for the long-winded answer. Thanks for your question, Sheila.

        • Thanks for the update, Sheila. It sounds like Michelle (in the comment below) is facing the same decision you went through.

          It seems like this is more common recently… I have a pretty prominent maxillary frenum and I don’t believe that the orthodontist ever recommended a frenectomy to me… My wife had braces and they didn’t do a frenectomy on her either.

  12. Hello Dr. Tom,

    I have been told that both of my children, ages 12 and 13 need to have maxillary mid-line frenectomies. They have had the gaps in their front teeth closed with orthodontics and he now wants this procedure completed before the braces come off. My concern is that neither of them appear to have very large maxillary labial frenums ,certainly no larger than mine or my husbands’. I also had braces to correct the gap in my front teeth and it never returned. I’m very concerned about having surgery done that may not be required. They have already endure a palette separator and the braces themselves. Is there any way to be sure that this procedure is really necessary? Are there questions I can ask the orthodontist? Do some frenums require surgery more than others? They seem a bit annoyed when I don’t jump on the band wagon in regards to this procedure. I just feel this matter requires more research before I schedule the appointments for surgery. Thank you so very much for your time and assistance in this matter. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


    • Hi Michelle – Unfortunately some doctors and dentists seem to want to spend more time doing procedures that their patients don’t really understand. In response to your main question: You kids’ gaps might return with or without the frenectomy and their teeth might stay closed with or without the frenectomy.

      It seems like many orthodontists want to perform the frenectomy “just in case” it causes the teeth to move back apart.

      Personally, I would rather not subject my children to surgery that may not be necessary. I tend to agree with the author of my pediatric dentistry book when he says the following (with my emphasis added on the last sentence):

      “No matter which type of treatment is used to close a midline diastema, retention can be a problem and should be planned. In most cases, a removable appliance maintains the space closure…If the diastema reopens during or following retention, the incisors should be realigned. At that time, a surgical procedure, frenectomy, can be performed if the frenum is thought to be the cause of the diastema’s reopening.”

      Note that a diastema is just our fancy dental word for a space between the front two teeth.

      Basically he says that in most cases you can use a retainer to keep the space closed after it has been closed with braces. Then he says that if the space re-opens, you should close the space and then consider a frenectomy if it is thought to be the cause of the re-opening.

      From what I’ve been taught in my three years of dental school, I have to say that I agree with Dr. Pinkham on this issue. Many times you can’t be sure that the frenectomy is what is causing the space to re-open, if it re-opens at all. There is actually some controversy on this topic in the professional world.

      You could ask the orthodontist if this is something that they routinely do on all of their patients or if they think that your children have an especially large/thick frenum that would cause their space to re-open. You could also ask if they think that a retainer, rather than a frenectomy, would be able to keep the space closed. Some frena are thicker than others and might require more tissue to be removed, but the procedure is basically the same.

      Most likely, the worst thing that would happen if you got it done would be that you would have paid for and subjected your kids to unnecessary surgery. The worst thing that could happen if you don’t get it done is that their teeth might open back up and you’d need to have the space re-closed and then consider getting the frenectomy. I’m sure that either of those choices have worked out well for many people, so it’s probably not a huge deal.

      I hope that helps, Michelle. Have a great day, and good luck with your decision!

  13. Hi Michelle and Sheila – Both of you along with my sister inspired me to write an article talking about whether or not it is necessary to have a frenectomy done after braces treatment.

    I just finished it and it will get published as tomorrow morning on the front page of Oral Answers. I included quotes from the leading orthodontics and pediatric dentistry books.

    Hopefully it will provide a greater explanation of what to do in these situations than my comments have.

  14. I’m having post frenectomy blues….my 6 1/2 year old daughter had one yesterday. We were told she needed one because of the gap between her two front (permanent) teeth. I was not prepared for the idea that she might look different! I am hoping this is normal swelling after the procedure, but if it’s permanent I’ll be pretty upset. Her upper lip seems large and her profile looks different….her lips don’t meet the way they used to. So I’m looking for an answer…does a frenectomy normally alter the appearance??? Or will her beautiful smile return to normal?

    • Hi Nicole – Many surgical procedures can cause a degree of swelling after they are done. I do have good news for you though – from what I’ve been taught in dental school, a frenectomy should not alter the appearance of your daughters smile or lips. Her beautiful smile should return to normal after she has healed from the frenectomy.

      Thanks for your question, Nicole. Let me know if you have any other questions about frenectomies.

    • Hi Nicole,

      I am feeling exactly the same way as you felt when you put up your post here. My 9 year old son just had frenectomy last Thursday because the dentist said that he needs it to close the gap between his 2 front teeth. And now I feel so bad and worried because his upper lip is still swollen 2 days after the surgery. Can I ask how many days or weeks before your daughter was back to her usual smile or lips? Also, how is she doing now more than a year after the surgery?

      Many thanks.

  15. Thank you for all of this info on the maxillary frenectomy. I have a toddler with a very thick and short labial frenum. I wrongly assumed this type of problem was like a severe ankyloglossia – clipped easily as an infant and with more difficulty as they grow. So I was unnecessarily worried that I missed my ‘window of opportunity’! Thanks to you and your site – I can relax a little. One question about the scar tissue from an early frenectomy possibly leaving a gap between permanent teeth. I know each case is different but in general – Do most people who have a short labial frenum eventually have a natural tear from eating or sports injury? In general wouldn’t a natural tear from eating or sports injury leave more scar tissue than than a precise and controlled surgical frenectomy? Thank you for such an informative site!

    • Hi Mel – Thanks for your kind words! I’m not sure on the exact numbers, but we talked about lots of kids that tear their labial frenum due to falling, playing sports, etc. I’m not sure if it happens to most people, but it is fairly common.

      When a frenectomy is performed, the frenum is removed completely, so it can leave scar tissue on the inside of the upper lip and on the gums between the two upper teeth. When my frenum tore, it tore in the middle and it did leave some scar tissue in the middle of the frenum where it tore, but none on the inside of the upper lip or on the gums. I hope that made sense!

      The pediatric dentistry instructors at my school along with the pediatric dentistry book that I quoted don’t recommend getting a labial frenectomy until the permanent canines have come in. Usually the canine teeth will push the incisors together and close the gap between the two front teeth.

      I hope that helps. If you have any other questions, just reply to this comment. Thanks for your comment, Mel!

  16. Our orthodontist told us our son needs to have his lingual frenum trimmed, he is 9 years old. His father’s side of the family has a history of being ‘tongue tied’. They want to knock him out for this, is it really necessary to put him under?

    • Hi Jane – Whether or not to put someone under general anesthesia for a procedure has to do with how well they would cope if they were aware of what was going on. I attended a presentation by a pediatric dentist a few months ago and he said that he has cut the lingual frenum of infants (when they couldn’t suck well enough to get milk) without even using local anesthesia. He described it as a quick cut that bled a little bit, but then healed pretty quickly.

      A lingual frenectomy can be a fairly quick, easy procedure. You can look at this post to see some videos of a lingual frenectomy. As you can see, if done with a laser there is usually little to no bleeding and the procedure is pretty quick.

      I would talk with your son and orthodontist to see if they think that general anesthesia is the best option. Local anesthesia may turn out to be just fine.

      I hope that helps somewhat. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for your comment, Jane!

      • Thank you, that did help. After a consultation our periodontist does not feel it’s necessary to put our son under general anesthesia, something I was hoping to avoid for a seemingly minor procedure.

  17. Hi Tom,
    My 7 year old is scheduled for a maxillary frenectomy tomorrow (18/02). Her permanent teeth is already in place, she has quite a big gap between the front teeth and she struggle with her speech. (She also had difficulty with sucking as a baby). I’ve only read now, that it’s suggested to first close the gap with braces before doing surgery, as the scar caused by an operation might make it difficult later on. I guess I need to know if it is the right thing to do at this age?

  18. Hi Marionette – Obviously some dental professionals tend to want to perform the frenectomy before the gap is closed. There is a lot of debate among orthodontists about whether the frenum even causes a space or not.

    If that’s what your dentist has decided, then it may be the best treatment for your daughter. You may want to consider reading this article about the age at which a child should get a frenectomy.

    I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions!

    • Hi,
      Just some feedback on my 7 yr old. Everything went really well with her frenectomy on Friday, my daughter had no swelling and no pain. She got her braces yesterday (5 days after the frenectomy) and is very proud of it.
      God bless!

  19. I’d never heard of this frenectomy procedure before my Japanese dentist recommended it today for my child (age 6). My son doesn’t seem to have any problems at all, but the dentist says that he’ll probably have a gap between his front teeth if we don’t have the surgery.
    From what I’ve read in your kindly advice so far, you seem to lean towards not having the procedure and then later just correcting the gap with braces/retainers. But wouldn’t braces and retainers be much more troublesome than (what seems like) a simple procedure?
    While I’d normally be against having an elective surgery for cosmetic purposes on my child, I had braces and I hated them.
    Is this surgery more serious than it seems? What would be the big reason for not having it done? My son just lost both his front baby teeth. It seems like a great time to have it done before his permanent teeth come in. Any advice would be appreciated. I have no idea what I’m about to do.
    thank you.

  20. Hi Johney – This page talks about at what age and if a child should get a labial frenectomy.

    Everything I have read says that there isn’t even any clear evidence as to whether a prominent frenum causes spacing. Also, it normally SHOULD NOT be done before someone is 11 or 12 years old according to the major textbooks.

    Doing it early not only may be unnecessary surgery, but it may create scar tissue that will make it harder for a gap to close when the canines come in and naturally close the gap.

    Your dentist does know your child’s unique situation, so it’s probably best to follow their advice.

    If it were my child, I would ask them if it’s really necessary and on what evidence they are basing this decision. If you have any other questions after reading the article I linked to above, let me know.

  21. Hi Tom,
    I’m 28 years old male. No problem with speech however having difficulty pronouncing /r/ properly. I pronounce /r/ like the French, Dutch, and German do. Do you think lingual frenectomy can help me pronouncing /r/ properly?

    • Hi Steve – Are you able to touch the tip of your tongue to your gums on the lip side of your lower front teeth? If so, then chances are that your tongue is able to move around enough to speak correctly. If it feels like your lingual frenum is pulling on your tongue when you talk, then the frenectomy may help.

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for your comment, Steve!

  22. My 16 month old daughter hit her mouth on the edge of the coffee table and tore her labial frenum. What should I do? Will she need surgery to reattach it or does it happen on its own? Could this have serious consequences if it doesn’t get treated soon? Is there some kind of topical medicine for the pain and irritation and to stop it from getting infected? How long will it take to heal? Will this affect the spacing between her front teeth? What will a dentist do in this kind of situation? Sorry for asking to many questions. It’s just that I had never heard of this happening and I don’t know anything about it. I’m just worried about my daughter.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Rafaela – Many labial frenum injuries occur without any problems. I injured mine when I was little, it healed up well and I haven’t had any problems with it. If it was just a minor tear, the dentist would probably just monitor it to make sure it heals well. I doubt that it would affect the spacing of her teeth. If you have any specific questions, it would be best to take your daughter to a pediatric dentist to have them look at it.

      I hope that helps, Rafaela. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for your comment!

  23. Hi Tom,
    I took my 4 year old daughter to the dentist and they informed me that she has a significantly large frenum on the top causing the gap in her two front teeth and that sometime in the future she will need a frenectomy. I am wondering what the specifics are for this procedure, like: should she have this done now with baby teeth or when they fall out or after her adult teeth? I also did some research online and found an article that said the gap had to be closed with braces before the frenectomy can take place, is this in fact the case? And if/when she gets this procedure done will they “put her to sleep” for it? And last, but not least, can this be the cause of her lisp?

    I would have asked these questions at my dentist’s office, except I had never heard of this before and didn’t know it was an issue, so I was taken back a little by it.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Hi Kaylyn – Everything I’ve read states that the frenectomy should be done after the gap has been closed with braces. Some dentists/oral surgeons might put her to sleep. It really isn’t that bad of a procedure, but if your daughter needs to be put to sleep for it, I’m sure it could be done.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for your comment, Kaylyn!

  24. Tom,
    I’m 43 years old and at my last dental appt. my dentist told me I needed to have a phrenectomy because of the recession of my gums between my two lower teeth. Is this a common procedure done to help this condition? I’m really nervous about it?

    • Hi Tammy – A frenectomy is common to help prevent gum recession and periodontitis. It’s usually not too bad depending on how much of the frenum actually needs to be removed. You can ask your dentist about your options for getting numb and see if they can offer you laughing gas to help with any anxiety that you may have.

      I hope that helps, Tammy. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  25. Hi,

    Quick question a lil over a yr ago i took my now 2 and half year old to a dentist and he said the same about the labial frenum that you posted about only cutting it once she’s a teen however i’ve now notice it’s casue her 2 top front teeth to split apart seriously and it now looking as though it’s splitting the gum in half, should i now get a secong opinion?

    • Hi Lisa – You might want to get a second opinion, however we usually don’t recommend doing them until the permanent teeth come in to see if the gap closes on its own.

      I hope that helps – Thanks for your comment! Let me know if you have any other questions, Lisa.

  26. Tom thank you for your responses to my concerns, there is one that I am very concerned about, if you can please help me with this, I’m a little worried and need to know if I must take action right away.

    An invasive procedure was performed by reccommendations of our dentist to have a certain oral surgeon make incisions in the roof of my daughter’s mouth to pull her canine teeth down. Now I have read many, many, questions and concerns regarding getting those canine teeth down. However, right now that is not my main concern, because they never did come down. But the oral surgeon could only get one chain attached to the tooth, he could not succeed on the other side. He then stiched her up on the side with the chain and left the chain inside. Since the dentist was not informing me of much and had been rude to me as her parent from the start, I trusted he was doing everything in her best interest, but was not very personable.

    My question is, the braces came off about 4 months ago and that chain is still inside the roof of her mouth, I don’t get it. Is this a cause for future problems, Please be honest so that my daughter does not end up with any major health problems. I just don’t think this is a good thing. The total time that chain has been up there is about a year now.

    Please tell me, do I need to do something ASAP,?? or is this ok, the surgeon nor the dentist addressed any issues of that metal chain being left in the roof of her mouth…I’m having a problem understanding this and that no health problems will arise with this metal chain in the roof of her mouth.


    • Hi Diana – You mentioned that the braces came off four months ago. Are they not planning on moving that tooth down? Usually it’s a good idea to get impacted teeth down into the mouth or get them extracted so that there’s no future problems associated with them (like a cyst for example.) I would think that it’s probably not the best idea to simply leave the chain on the tooth unless they are planning on using it soon to help the tooth erupt into the mouth.

      You’d get a better answer by calling the oral surgeon and asking him if it should be removed soon.

      I hope that helps – Thanks for your comment, Diana. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  27. Hi Tom – I have an 8 year old who had an upper lip frenctomy done at 3 yrs old by our dentist. When we started going for ortho consults this year, 2 orthos saw and mentioned that she should be seen for a frenctomy in front of the lower front two teeth as it is so tight on one tooth that the gum has quickly pulled back. We are trying to avoid a gum graft at this point. My dentist wants to do it but I am not happy with finding out that the frenectomy that he insisted on at 3 years old will have to be redone later due to the fact that it only released the top tissue but never removed the tissue (all orthos have suggested this should have been done). We are seeing a periodontist this time for the lower front. Any specific care instructions, suggestions. for us? I do believe that in this case it is necessary as I can see the recession in the gum. we are at the dentist for cleanings every 6 months and as this hasn’t been mentioned before, I suspect it’s progressed quickly. are we doing the right thing? thanks for any suggestions.

    • Hi Kim – One of the reasons that a frenectomy should be done is if it is causing gum recession. It sounds like the “frenectomy” on top was really just a “frenotomy.” A frenectomy removes the frenum and the tissue underneath, while a frenotomy is simply a cut in the frenum to release the tension.

      If it is indeed causing the gum recession, it sounds like you’re doing the right thing. I can’t offer specific care instructions, but the periodontist will be able to let you know if there’s anything special that needs to be done.

      I hope that helps – Thanks for your comment, Kim. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  28. Hello, my daughter was born with a gap on her upper gumline (where 2 front teeth usually grow in). It looks as though it never fully developed, but does not continue back toward the upper palate. She is now 4 mos old and the ENT is wanting to do the labial frenectomy. I dont know how they will do this, or hold her still, she is strong! What is your suggesion? I am thinking of waiting, is this common? Thanks…

    • Hi Brooke – I’m not sure I understand correctly. Is there a gap where the labial frenum is? Or does it look like she is missing bone there?

      In any case, have you asked the ENT if it is something urgent or if it can wait? If it’s not interfering with feeding, I’m not sure that there would be a rush to get it done, but this does fall outside of what I’ve learned so far in school.

      I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

  29. Hi
    I have a 15month old daughter. She had a fall and tore her lip short frenum and it is now caught between the two front teeth. It goes through her front teeth and looks like it links up with her gum behind the teeth.

    I have had a pediatric doctor & dentist look at it, but they are not comfortable with surgical intervention due to her age. They say it should heal by its self. So far it has been 11 days and has not changed. The frenum is easily disturbed and will bleed on a daily basis due to little things like her rubbing her mouth, the use of a dummy at night, eating hard food, any accidental bump to her mouth.

    I don’t understand how a caught frenum will heal itself and how long is this expected to take? Would this require surgical intervention and should i pursue this avenue with a pediatric surgeon?
    Any advice on what should be done in a case where the frenum is caught between the upper incisors?
    Thank you so much.

    • Hi Mia – I tore my frenum when I was a child. It did heal by itself and now i have a little flap of tissue on it. It should heal itself – our bodies are able to naturally heal many of the cuts and scrapes that we get as we grow up. It will heal best if it is not irritated frequently, which can be hard, especially at your daughter’s age. The frenum does normally pass from the lip side onto the tongue side of the roof of the mouth. If your daughter’s doctor and dentist recommend waiting, that’s probably a good idea.

      If you’re still worried, it never hurts to get a second opinion.

      I hope that helps – Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for your comment, Mia.

  30. Hi. I have an eighteen month daughter. Her frenum is attached between her two front teeth. I took her to my pediatrician who recommended a pediatric dentist. He said that in most cases he would recommend waiting until her permanent teeth came in, then waiting until she needed braces and performing the frenectomy at that time so that there was less chance of scar tissue pushing the teeth together. But in the case of my daughter, he actually felt the connection was prominent enough to perform the procedure immediately, because he worried that if she were to hit her mouth it would cause a fairly traumatic injury.

    I am very hesitant, however, to have the procedure done because of her age. I’m not really comfortable having her put under anesthesia if it can be avoided. It seems to me the risk of her hitting her mouth hard enough to cause damage is rather low. I would just like your opinion as to whether or not you see any other benefit to having the surgery done now, and whether or not you think the risk of injury is high enough to justify surgery at such a young age.

    Thank you so much for your advice.

    • Hi Kelli – We’ve also learned that you should wait until you get the permanent teeth coming in until a frenectomy is performed. You can read more along with some comments on the subject at this article: At What Age Does a Child Need a Frenectomy?

      Since every child is different, your pediatric dentist knows what is best in your daughter’s specific situation. If you’re uncomfortable, you may want to get a second opinion. I also had a prominent frenum that tore slightly when I was playing – it didn’t hurt bad and it hasn’t caused any problems. I didn’t even end up needing to get a frenectomy.

      I hope that helps – Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for your comment, Kelli!

  31. Hi there

    I am wondering if my son has an unusual frenulum. He has normal movement of his tongue, no mishapenness and no speech problems, apart from a tiny lisp.

    However, the frenulum doesn’t attach to the floor of his mouth, but instead there are two little strings attached to the inside of his bottom gum. It seems to be pulling the gum a little out of shape, but as he has just lost his milk teeth, it’s too early to tell if the adult teeth are being pulled out of place.

    He is having gastric trouble and I have read that there may be a connection between tongue tie and gastric problems because the chewing and swallowing action is compromised. Have you heard of this?


  32. Hi Tom,
    My 9 year old son has his three front adult teeth but is missing his right front tooth. We discovered via a panoramic x-ray that he has a supernumery?? tooth, not properly formed, in his gum directly above where the right front tooth should be. As a result, the adult front tooth is pushed over and sideways at about 90% up in his gum. His baby front teeth came in fine and all came out on their own except the right front baby tooth that had to be extracted as nothing was pushing it out.
    He is scheduled to have surgery to remove the extranumery tooth matter up in his gum so the adult tooth can come down, even if it is sideways but they are also recommending a frenectomy. I’m not sure that it is necessary, he does not have a large or long frenum. I’m concerned obviously about putting my son through such extensive oral surgery and I’ve read that removing the frenem can cause scar tissue to form that can stop the front teeth from coming together. I’m also concerned that removing his normal freneum could cause him to have the big “gummy” smile which he doesn’t currently have now. The orthodontist is saying it may prevent the sideways adult tooth from being able to come down in his mouth? We realize that he will need braces eventually. Would love to hear your comments on this.
    Thanks, Sarah

  33. My 8 yr old daughter went to see the orthodontist, who ‘prescribed’ a frenectomy because her gum tissue was preventing her two front teeth from being close to each other. (There’s a gap.) The orthodontist told me to have my dentist do it, so I gladly added that to the regular check up visit that she was going to be having. I also had my 11 yr old daughter scheduled for a dental check up at the same time. To my horror, the dentist performed the frenectomy on my 11 yr old who didn’t need it. I understand that mistakes happen, but I’m very concerned. This has made my 11 yr old, who already had extreme anxiety issues when it comes to the dentist, hate the dentist even more. I’m also wondering if there are adverse issues that could arise because this procedure was performed when it was not needed.

  34. I am 29 years old and had my braces removed 2 years ago. Shortly after my gap between mu front teeth immediatly returned. I went in for a consultation for veneers and was advised that having a frenectomy and returning to my braces would be a better option. I have been researching this option and notice most advise to close the gap FIRST then have the frenectomy. Please advise! ! I have an appointment scheduled in 3 weeks to have the procedure, should I wait until after the braces??

    • My daughter’s orthodontist wanted her to have a frenectomy first, before braces are considered. I suppose it depends on your mouth. My daughter’s frenum was so low that it was preventing her two front teeth from being close together. So now that the extra tissue has been removed, we’re hoping that the gap will slowly close. If not, then we’ll do braces.
      It could be that your frenum/gum tissue is acting like a wedge between your front teeth. My thought is that the frenectomy would need to be removed first so that the job that the baces do would be permanent this time. But I’m not a dentist. I’m just explaining what makes sense to me based on my experience. Hope it helps.

      • Some other sites indicate having the surgery first could cause irreversible scar tissue which would prevent orthodontics from working. So maybe it does just depend on the individual case

  35. Tom,
    I just want to say thank-you for responding! My 13-month girl has a prominent maxillary labial frenum, which I just spotted today and learned all about it via your answers to those questions. I will wait till she grows her permanent teeth, per your advice.
    Reading this is quite comforting to me as a parent. Many thanks, again!

  36. The dentist insists my 6 year old needs a frenectomy to gain fuller range of motion with his tongue. He has had no speech problems, no trouble eating (or even nursing when he was a baby). When he was a baby his Doctor said that he may need it cut if it cause problems with speech. Well, it has not caused any problems. My son can stick his tongue out, talk and eat just fine, but for some reason this dentist insists he should have it cut. I told the dentist I asked the ENT about this (we were getting my sons tonsils checked) and the ENT did not see a need to have it cut. But the dentist still insists that only a dentist or oral surgeon can make that decision.
    I do not want to put my kid through an unneccessary procedure.
    What do you think?

    Thank you!

  37. I am extremely inspired together with your writing abilities and also with the structure to your blog. Is this a paid topic or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to look a great blog like this one these days..

  38. My 18 month old tore her maxillary labial frenum. Do I need to be concerned about a permanent gap in her teeth? The pedi was not concerned but now I’m wondering after seeing this website.

  39. Sorry I did not finish. I am concerned if her big teeth come down and need to be straightened there could be an issue. She sucks her thumb constantly.

  40. Hi my daughter is 22 months she has a gap in the middle of her two front top teeth. It doesn’t seem to bother her but I’m conserned if she will have a gap when she gets her adult teeth. Also I have a sister with the same problem. Is this heredetary? Is there a channce that her two front teeth close as she grows? Should I wait and see if the gap closes? Or should I take her to the dentist?Aldo at what age should she have the surgery?

  41. I had recently gotten a fenectomy on my bottem lip, and I wanted to know what I can do for the soreness and how to clean it (mouthwash is a little painful to use). I am also experiencing some numbness from my bottom lip to my chin. Is this normal?

  42. Hello Tom,
    I go to the nearby dental school for my dental work. At the beginning, they did a survey or evaluation of my needs. Among a number of things I needed, they said and scheduled a labial frenectomy. They didn’t say why I needed it or what it would do for me. I know I should have asked, but I understood the other recommended procedures and understood this to be a minor one. This may not be fair, but could you speculate on why a 70 year old man would need this. I was having no pain. Thanks for your website. Jim

  43. Hey Tom!

    My 5 month old is tongue tied. He has no problems with feeding but I notice that he often holds a little formula in his mouth long after his bottle. I’m beginning to think he has a problem with swallowing completely. I have also noticed that his breath smells bad which is probably a result from holding the formula in his mouth for periods of time. And at 5 months old, he is not babbling or making sounds and noises like i imagined he would. His pediatricians refuses to clip his tongue and prefers to take the wait and see approach. However, I like to be preventitive instead of reactive. Do you have any suggestions? I’m considering taking him to see a pediatric dentist. Do you think I’ll have a better chance of getting this treated with a dentist?

  44. Hi Tom,

    My 15 year old sister has a frenum in both upper and lower lips. She is current wearing Invisalign braces and has been wearing them for about a year and 5 months. Gaps between her teeth are not the issue. She has large, but crooked teeth. They overlap, as most of her teeth do. Her dentist has recently informed my father that she will need a maxillary labial frenectomy for both. His reason for such recommendation is that the bottom frenum has been damaged (or cut) by the braces and therefore needs to be removed. The top one needs removal because he states that after she no longer needs braces, her teeth will move apart and create gaps. Is this true?

    At this time, she is not experiencing any pain, but is fearing the procedure.

    Thank you for your assistance.

  45. what if the maxillary labial frenum is literally diving your childs fron two teeth as in literally lying in between them?

  46. Dear Tom

    Thanks so much for your detailed responses above.
    I have a wide gap between my upper front teeth and a frenum between the gap. I am 30 years old.
    Iam thinking of having the gap closed but without undergoing a frenectomy as it does not impact on my speech. Is this advisable?
    Also I do not know whether to go for invisalign or an Inman Aligner. Please can you advise?
    Kind Regards

  47. I have not read every post so forgive me if this has been answered. My six year old daughter’s permanent upper front teeth have come in and are pretty far apart due to the frenum which has been low for several years. It doesn’t cause her pain, but is this the time to address the problem? Thanks.

  48. My toddler had her fused frenulum lasered by her dentist. She always had trouble feeding/ nursing. She never could get the hang of latching on, not even with a baby bottle. She never made a sound either so that’s why we elected to have it done. After that, we noticed a change for the better. That was last year. Today, she was complaining of pain in the same area! I lifted her lift and I almost positive it had grown back! Is this possible?

  49. my 16 year old son had his braces removed after successful treatment. now a small gap appears between his upper front teeth unless he wears a retainer. orthodontist recommended maxillary labial frenectomy. i had a similar gap that was successfully reduced by a retainer and then my orthodontist placed a tiny wire armature glued in place behind my front teeth to prevent the gap from recurring. worked well for 20 years with no problems until it broke (and can be replaced). opinions about these two different approaches? (I’m biased toward the latter because of the expense of the surgery… and my orthodontist said that such surgeries aren’t necessarily long-lasting fixes.)

  50. HI My 6.5 year old was recently seen and dentist said she would need a palate expander, reverse headgear and a frenectomy. She was tongue tied as an infant and it was lasered since it interferred with nursing. I just don’t know if it is necessary to do the top as well- she complains of no pain or irritation. I have a gap between my front teeth which came back after braces and so does most of my family. Do you think I should do it?

  51. Hi Tom, my daughter is 17. She had a large gap and has had her braces on for 1 and a half years. The ortho said her teeth looked great, bite was great and gap closed. Took them off do to us leaving state. He glued on a wire behind her teetn and bottom teeth and reimforsed with a retainer top and bottom. He now wants h to have a frnextomy. Won’t this reseperate her gap. Her teeth look perfect rit now. What to do.

  52. Wish I came across your advice before I let the periodontist and orthodontist and dentist convince me to have my 9 yr old daughter’s upper frenum cut. They all advised to laser it so that her front two teeth may come together.

    So we did it in feb. Now, a few months later, the frenum grew back, and is lower down, and the scar tissue way up top seems to have fused lower down.

    I don’t know why they all advised she gets the procedure ESP since her canines have not come in. We had them extracted because the dentist saw from the xray that the adult canines would come in crooked. So to nip that problem before it erupts, the dentist advised extraction. And we did that.

    So my daughter now has a frenum that grew back. And missing canines.

  53. Is it normal for a maxillary frenectomy to still be bleeding 10 days after the procedure? I am 55 years old and not sure why this procedure was necessary. The wound is strictly on the left side of my mouth and not in the center. There is also a pencil eraser size hole in my gum up next to my nose. Very painful.

  54. Hello, I went to the dentist today and she recommended that I get a frenectomy because of the added pressure and tugging on my gums. She assured me that it is a “5 minutes, no problem” type thing. Frankly, the whole thing grossed me out. Will there be any effect to the appearance of my lips and speech?

  55. Hello,
    I have a 10 year old daughter who has perfectly straight teeth and has never had any problems up until about a year ago. She was playing her flute and my son accidentally hit her flute with his blanket and I think it went up and damaged her maxillary labial frenum (top lip?) I didn’t really see any severe injury and thought whatever it was would just heal. The day after it happened she started moving her lips in a funny way (almost like it was a “tic”). Well, long story short, she has been doing this for a year! Now she just told me tonight that the frenum has been bothering her and that is why she is always making the lip movement. I looked into her mouth and see 2 tiny white spots on the frenum. I am wondering what could possibly be done about this as it “bothers” her, not necessarily hurts. I’m not even sure what it is???
    Thank you,

  56. my daughter as to have this done she s two years old but it wraps completely from the front lip to the roof of her mouth behind her teeth. What should I expect few days after it is done?

  57. Hi Tom,
    When my baby was 1 1/2 month old, he was not gaining weight and it was determined by a lactation consultant first, and then by his pediatrician that he was tongue tied. They both referred me to an ENT for a frenectomy, so she (the ENT) told me that since she was going to do that, she recommended also cut his “upper frenum” so the baby could suck better. I was desperate with our breastfeeding / baby weight issues and said “yes, whatever helps.” I never thought twice about it, until my baby had an accident recently. He is now 2 y.o. and he fell and tore half his upper gum; there was a hugh gash. You could look inside a hole between his lip and teeth looking upward. It was awful, and we took him to the ER. Doctors came and checked him out multiple times, and were called an oral surgeon who, along with a resident dentist, discussed the fact that his upper lip frenum was cut. When I explained that it was the ENT, they both made a disapproving face, and just said they did not understand. Same thing happened at a follow up appt for this injury (on which I am not concentrating in this post), and again I told about the ENT, and they said they did not know why that was done. My baby has only baby teeth at this point (obviously), and a huge gap between his upper front teeth. It looks like there is a little band going from his upper lip, down his gum and in between the front teeth and then heading back!
    Why do you think the ENT did this? Is this going to have consequences for my son and his teeth? What about the gap for his permanent teeth?
    Please help, and be honest, thank you so much!

  58. Hi
    My son. I had trouble breast feeding and I was not told her needed a labial frenectomy at that time when he was a baby. Now, he is 9 years old and the dentist says he should get a frenectomy becasue they are concerned that he cannot get to his back teet well enough when he is brushing. He has a slight slur in words when he says s’s but it is not really even noticable. The dentist also wants to do sealants while they are in already performing the frenectomy as his teeth have deep grooves. I am just worried that the procedure is not really necessary and if he brushes better and flosses more, we may not need to do the procedure. However, if I do not do it, then he could have more dental problems later on and I would feel horrible. Please advise.

  59. Hi Tom, I have a 2 1/2 year old son who I just noticed had a labial fenulum. It goes in between his 2 front teeth. My husband had a gap growing up until he had it fixed as an adult, my 6 year old son had one as well but has his permenent teeth coming in so we can’t tell if they will be gapped as well. My 2 year old doesn’t really talk much he does say many words. I was just wondering if this would cause a speech problem. I don’t really want him to have surgery but I want what’s best for him. I do have a dental appointment scheduled for him in 2 weeks. I’m just concerned as to what the dentist will say and I want to be prepared for what I will agree to have done.
    Appreciate your feedback.

  60. Hi Tom,

    My 9 year old son just a frenectomy 2 days ago because his dentist said that he needs it to close the gap between his 2 front teeth. Now I am so worried because his upper lip is still swollen 2 days after the surgery. Can I just ask when would it return back to normal? Thanks and hope you can clear my mind on this.

  61. I disagree that a procedure should be considered ‘only if it is causing the child pain.’ The earliest problems with a tight frenulum happen when the mother attempts to breastfeed, and while some kids have no problems, other babies are often completely unable to nurse. These babies often choke or gag frequently on breastmilk because they can’t move their tongues to swallow efficiently, and often have a poor latch. As a result the mother’s milk supply may go down because of inefficient nursing, and can often cause clogged ducts and mastitis in the mother if the breast isn’t drained sufficiently during a feed. Many mothers simply think something is wrong with their bodies that they ‘just can’t nurse,’ when really the tight frenulum is making it difficult for their baby to latch on and nurse successfully.

    Many doctors, unfortunately, completely miss the tongue tie altogether or refuse to clip it, which can often cause a painful breastfeeding relationship (if the mother doesn’t stop nursing completely). Before infant formula became the cultural standard, birth attendants would often clip tight frenulums right away to prevent any future problems with nursing, speech, oral hygiene, etc. Not only will some doctors misdiagnose the child or think “nothing is wrong,” but many insurance carriers won’t cover it. It seems to me that taking care of it while they’re infants, before the teeth come in, would solve a lot of future problems down the road.

    • Hi Deranged Housewife – I agree with you, you quoted me when I was discussing the labial frenum (the one that attaches the upper lip to the gums above the two front teeth). The lingual frenum should definitely be cut if it interferes with breast feeding. Thanks for your comment!

  62. My dentist is suggesting i get the frenectomy done before I get my braces but I just read that it’s meant to be done after the dental treatment. what do I do? Thank you.

  63. i had a lingual frenectomy (bottom of tongue cut) when i was around 2 because i had trouble talking. After it was cut i was fine and never had a problem with it until now. I am now 20 and for the past 4-5 days my tongue hurts when i talk and i tried sticking it out but it hurts and barely comes out. so my question is has anyone ever heard of a lingual frenectomy reversing by itself after so many years? and if so why does this happen

  64. Hi Tom, My name is Sherry
    I had my baby girl incision for her tongue tie by the time she was 2 months old since I struggled a lot in breastfeeding and after consult with several pediatrician and lactation consultant, they found that she had a tongue tie. After the procedure took place, I still had difficulties (sore nipples) but became better after some time but I still couldn’t fulfill her hundred percent milk needs and had to combine breastfeeding with formula.

    Now, she is 13 months old and has 9 teeth grown already, including the upper front teeth. In the last couple of months, I notice that the upper front teeth near the labial frenum has brownish color, I worry that it’ll become worst especially since I cant clean it up effectively because my daughter always cry in pain and avoid the tooth brush coming on to her upper teeth.

    My questions are: was my breastfeeding difficulties after incision had to do with the existing maxillary labial frenum?. Is it most likely that children with tongue tie also have maxillary labial frenum? and in this age (more than one year), what proper procedure should be taken to release the frenum (with or without anesthetic?). Thank you so much for your time and help.

  65. Hello

    My son is almost nine and we were referred to discuss a labial frenectomy for him. His new front teeth and spaced apart and the rest of his teeth are over crowding. I was under the impression that the frecnetomy should be done before his orthodontic work needs to be done, but now I am unsure if I should wait as described above.

    I guess my quesiton is similar to the one above from Femi

    Thank you for an answer

    • Hi Melina – I hope I’m not too late. It should generally cost a few hundred dollars, insurance may cover most of it. At my practice in rural Virginia, it costs $288 (That’s dental code “D7960 – Frenulectomy Separate Procedure”) I hope that helps. Have a great day!

      • Hi Tom! My 12 year old daughter is having a frenulectomy-separate procedure tomorrow. It will fix her bottom front two teeth and hopefully help stop the gums from further recession from her teeth. The doctor will then evaluate the situation and she may have to have a skin graft based on whether or not this current surgery releases the tension enough or not. My question is, she was tongue-tied as a baby. We had to have her tongue “clipped” to fix the problem. The ENT doctor said it wasn’t bad and he didn’t have to deaden the area at all. There was very little blood. Is the tongue-tied issue connected with this lower lip issue? Also, does regular medical insurance cover things like this that are birth issues? We don’t have dental insurance. Thanks in advance for your help!

  66. Hi, my 14-year-old has had braces for a few months, and the orthodontist is recommending frenectomy. He says the lingual frenum definitely needs cutting, to ensure the orthodontic work isn’t compromised. She had some speech problems as a child, but not enough that we considered medical help necessary. She talks great now, plays first-chair flute. How much adjusting would she have to do after surgery? I’d hate to see her have to start all over again, just because her tongue moves differently. Just curious for a second opinion.

  67. My 5 year old son was recommended to have a frenectomy for his upper lip frenum, however, I am very hesistant to have this surgery scheduled unless it is absolutely necessary. He is possibly having his adenoids out and they want to clip it while he is under anesthesia. He does have a gab between his baby teeth and he does have a problem with his verbal skills (talks like he is from Boston), but not sure it is his frenum causing this or maybe an ear problem. Do you believe a child can live their life without undergoing the frenuloplasty?

    • Hi Annie – If you have concerns, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion. Most experts say that you need to wait until the permanent canines come in to see if anything needs to be done with the upper lip frenum in regards to a gap between the teeth. As far as his speech, you would have to see someone who can figure out if it is impeding his speech at all, if so, they may recommend to get it clipped while he’s under anesthesia. I hope that helps – good luck!

  68. My son was told by the ortho he needs a frenectomy because it is causing his gums to receed on his bottom teeth , it doesnt look that bad to me althou I could see the recession. Should I have this done , he is ten about to turn eleven in a week?

  69. My son had an upper frenectomy 6 days ago and tonight we were horsing around and hee smacked his teeth down on a table. There was some bleeding and I am concerned as to if I should take him to an ER? The frenectpmy actually took a good bit of his gums to the bone and that is what has me worried. I guess any advice would be appreciated.

    • Hi Robert – Usually the oral tissues heal very quickly. It’s never a bad idea to give your son’s dentist a call and let them know what happened to see if they’d like to take a look to make sure everything is okay.

  70. Hi. My daughter is 11, she just got her braces put on a couple weeks ago. She saw an oral surgeon today for a consult. He is to remove her baby canines and attach a “button” and a chain to attach to her braces to move the canines in to place (they are currently turning sidways under the gums). After examination the Dr. said he would recommend that she have a maxilarry frenectomy while he is doing the other procedure because he says that the frenum is “long” and after her braces are removed she could end up with a gap between her front teeth again. And instead of having to go back in a few years from now, recommends doing it now. She has her permanent front teeth. I just don’t want to put her through something that may or may not help down the road.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Kim – I would probably talk with the orthodontist about this – the research isn’t very clear, but most recommend waiting until after the braces come off because there’s not even a general consensus as to whether or not the frenum can cause a gap in the front teeth…

      I hope everything goes well and that you make an informed decision as to what’s best for your daughter. Good luck, Kim!

  71. Hii. i got a vasectamine, meaning an oral surgery to lazer the gums that built over my teeth, after having braces. i got home and realized that i also got a frenectomy, i am concerned because my smile is sort of weird. i was wondering what affects does a frenectomy have?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Maya – You mean you had a gingivectomy? It may take a few weeks for your gums to settle into their proper position. If you’re dissatisfied with how they look, you should talk to your doctor who did the procedure and see if they can do anything to correct how it looks. I hope that helps!

  72. hello tom! thank you so much for having this blog. it is very helpful to people facing these procedures! my 8 year old son is facing a gum graft and frenulectomy on top and bottom. the periodontist says the graft will help prevent him from losing tooth 25 because he has major gum recession there and that the frenulectomy will prevent the gum from being pulled away from the tooth. the upper frenulectomy is recommended because my son has gums that are bunched up there from having braces that pushed his front teeth together. now, my questions to you are these:

    1. do you agree with these procedures for an 8 year old?

    2. they prescribed a hydroxyzine 25 mg pill to give my son 1 hour before the procedure for his anxiety about the dentist. do you think this is enough? or should we have him put to sleep for the procedures? what would you do if it were your son?

  73. Hi Tom
    My 10 month old baby seems to have her lip attached to the gum between her 2 front teeth. There is a huge gap between her teeth. I am concerned because she only weighs 5,6kg at the moment and has already been classified as being very underweight. She takes ages to drink her bottle of milk and breast feeds for very short periods of time. She refuses and gags for food that is a little coarse and I am not sure if its related or not. Please can you recommend the best way for us to approach this. Should we take her to a dentist or an ENT or a paediatrician. Any feedback will be most appreciated and she is facing the possibility if hospitalisation due to being significantly underweight. Thanks so much.

    • Savina,

      Has her pediatrician labeled her as failure to thrive? If so, a lip-tie can definitely be part of the problem. Many dentists may not feel comfortable treating someone this little and may opt for referring out. I suggest finding a laser dentist who can do this procedure quickly and comfortably for her.

      Dr Brian

  74. Hi,

    What is your opinion on frenectomies being recommended for newborns / infants due to breastfeeding issues? I see a lot of mention here about frenectomies being done purely to remove the gap between teeth but isn’t there so much more to it? I currently have a 20 month old breastfed toddler with early caries in all six of her upper teeth – this is despite diligent brushing, diligent first dental check before she turned one, avoiding all forms of sugar in diet etc..

    Now apart from the huge risk of cavities, there is the future potential for misalignment of teeth, jaw issues, developing a bad bite (cross bite), speech issues etc which does seem like a huge gamble. Gap between the teeth is really my last worry given the above list of other worries.

    What choice do I have in this case but to go ahead with a maxillary labial Frenectomy?

  75. Hi, thank you so much for your information. From reading this I now understand my daughter has maxillary labial frenum but it joins into her two front teeth. Is this bad? I want to call someone ASAP to get it looked at & delt with the best way asap. Who should I call the dr, peadiatrician or dentist?
    Oh I just feel so emotional thinking about it 🙁
    She was 8 weeks prem. Could this be part of the reason why she doesn’t talk or eat well? She is very under weight. She sees the peadiatrician every 3 mths & he has never mentioned it. I was just checking in her mouth at her teeth yesterday & noticed this problem.

    Please help so I can get the best help x

  76. hi, my daughter has a muscle attachment on the top of her 2 front teeth, when the dentist cuts it off, will it look like what happened in the picture above with stiches? she is very nervous so i just want to make sure.

    • Tom,
      My son is only 11 months old, and his maxillary labial fraenum is between his teeth as well. He is always in pain. I don’t know who to take him to, or even what I should do for him. None of his other teeth will come in on the top, and I’m worried that it could have long term effects for him. What should I do?

  77. I had a frenectomy on my bottom lip about 3 years ago because the tissue was connected so close to my tooth that it was pulling the gums away from the tooth. Now the same thing is happening again on my lower right side but I can’t get in to see anybody about it for several weeks. I’m already seeing the gum line turning white and pulling away from my tooth like it’s dying and it’s somewhat painful. Is there anything I can do to prevent further damage before I get my consultation? Thanks.

  78. Hi ,my son is 10 months old and yesterday only I found that he is having a upper lip frenulum. Also his only one upper tooth is coming out and there is a huge gap between 2 front teeth.I also feel like he is also having problem of tongue tie.Coming tooth is very painful for him.He doesn’t allow me to see the upper lips part.I am worried about this.Can you tell me at what age the surgery can be done and approximate cost for it ? Because I heard that most insurance agencies don’t cover this type of surgery.

  79. My daughter is 8 1/2 and the dentist is recommending a labial frenectomy because she has a gap. I am hesitant because it is surgery and this “problem” doesn’t disturb my daughter expect for the cosmetic reason of having a gap between her teeth. I’m wondering if there is a chance that the gap will still close, and whether or not I should I still go through with it? It doesn’t really bother her at this time, but I wonder if it will become more of an issue for her in adolescence?

  80. My daughter is 6 yrs old and is having the labial frenectomy in the morning. I was pretty hesitant to do this but hers is connected from her lip all the way to her palate.

  81. we have 4 year old that is unable to speak. Several doctors have looked at him and
    he has had a scan of the brain and they find nothing.
    I don’t recall if anyone has checked to see if he needs a frenectomy. Could this be
    keeping him from being able to speak. He wants to speak really badly. He can say
    MA MA and ah oh, that is the extent of his 4 year old language.
    He tries to tell us things with his eyes and is using his mouth but no words come out.

  82. i use my hand to gap my front teeth and my parents treated to disown me if i do not close it that am be becoming lose in the house. please i want to own if i can close it.

  83. Can one be performed if wisdom teeth have not been pulled and can it be used as a correction for tongue thrust

  84. Hello, My almost 8 year old daughter has been under the care of an orthodontist for the past7 months or so. We took her for an evaluation because as her front teeth were coming in the were crowded & overlapping. She had a palate expander and then braces on her front 4 upper teeth to pull them into alignment and create space for other teeth to drop down. Recently the orthodontist recommended a frenectomy be done prior to her braces being removed and moving to a retainer. I am not one to take putting my child under anesthesia lightly. My child does not experience pain, trouble speaking or eating. I have read some articles on line, and I am really not sure if it is necessary to do this procedure at this time. Do you have an opinion? do you have questions you suggest I ask either the dentist, orthodontist, oral surgeon to help us make the best decision for our daughter? We want her to have a healthy smile, but not take unneccessary risks or undergo unneccesary procedures.

  85. Hi, I have a moderately large gap in my front teeth and have had all my life. It has never really been a problem for me throughout primary and the early part of my secondary education, but recently it has been used as an insult towards me. I believe others think that its a ‘joke’ and i dont mind about it, but I can not take it, it tears me apart! I now do not have any confidence whatsoever. It has become hard to deal with and now i do not want to find a job, I can’t maintain proper conversation without focusing on the visibility of my teeth, and i even don’t like showing my teeth in front of my own family. I really do not want to be wearing fixed braces for a year or so as no one has them in my year anymore. I do not want to have this little self sonfidence for the rest of my life and need options! Please give me every possible way around this!

    • Sorry if this is on the wrong section! First time i have posted, and just to add i have looked up frenectomy as a cause of this and I’m extremely worried

  86. Hello I am 21, I got my braces off when I was 14. I was very consistent on wearing my retainers for the next 5 years. But I I noticed if I took my retainer off for my than a couple weeks a gap would begin to show in my two front teeth. My dentist and Orthodontist both told me it would be best to get a frenectomy. I decided to go with the laser treatment. After receiving the surgery my teeth not only had a much bigger gap in them than ever before it seemed as if I had a piece of my gums missing. I Asked the doctor why that was and his response was that it should be fine within the week. 4 months later my gap is still here and i have been told in order to fix it i need to have my two front teeth replaced with crowns. Please help me. I am desperate in figuring out why this happened. I have a suspicion the dentist did not due the right job.

    Thank you

  87. I’m currently looking up orthodonist in my area for braces(gapped teeth), and also just a dentist in general. I have a lingual frenectomy, (tongue tie) but had it clipped when I was 10yrs old. At 24 I am experience discomfort and pain when sticking my tongue out and sometime after speaking for long periods time. It’s only happening in the last few years and has become even more uncomfortable. In my teenage years I do not recall having this discomfort at all.
    I feel as though some of the frenulum has grown back, though not back like ith was before (tip of tongue) But it is attached to inner part of my gums right beneath my teeth. Should I look into getting the procedure before or after braces? Is it possible to get it done with braces already on?

  88. Hello I have a question ? My Daughter is just over one years old and i noticed her maxillary labial frenum has grown in between her two front teeth you can already tell she has a gap should i be concerned about this i really dont want my child to have a gap ? Help ??

  89. Hi,

    My daughter is 11 1/2 years old. Her new pediatric dentist wants her to have this (upper) procedure. Her teeth are perfectly aligned with no gap in her front teeth and her bite is ideal. She has not worn braces. The dentist said that without this procedure, my daughter’s gums will pull away from her upper teeth. I’m having trouble visualizing what this might look like and how severe this problem could become. From everything I have read, it seems to me that the only reason to have this procedure done is to close a gap in the teeth. Since my daughter has no gap, I’m having trouble justifying this surgery. I am not clear on the risks and side effects.


  90. Hi Mr. Draper,
    I’m a 17 year old guy and my baby teeth came in perfectly straight on the top and bottom. After I lost my baby teeth, all of my adult teeth came in straight with no gaps except for my two front teeth. I’ve never had braces but my teeth are perfect with the exception of the 2mm gap between the two in the front. It is not terribly noticeable, but I would really like to close the gap without having to get braces or invisalign. After comparing my labial frenum with others who have gone through the surgery, it looks as though it my be successful and I would be very satisfied with no gaps in my teeth. What do you recommend?

    • Hi Carter – With just the frenectomy, it is highly unlikely that your teeth would move to fill in that 2mm gap. Even if they did, it would likely create spaces on the other side of those teeth where they moved from.

      The two options are usually to:
      1 – Move the teeth closer together with braces/invisalign
      2 – Add something to the teeth (usually tooth-colored filling material) to make the teeth larger to fill in the gap.

      I hope that helps. Good luck!

  91. My daughter is 10 and so far two different Orthodontists have said they have to do a frenectomy before they give her braces because that is helping cause the front two teeth to be pulled apart. But you are saying it shouldn’t be done until after the braces are completed and the teeth are then together.

    I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do now. Should I get a 3rd opinion?

    • Hi Jean – You should do what you feel is best. Most of the evidence in the past showed that doing the frenectomy prior to braces could cause scar tissue to form that would make it harder to get the front teeth together. I’m sure it could be done both ways successfully. I hope that helps. Have a great day and good luck with your daughter’s braces treatment!

    • I had a maxillary labial frenectomy when I was about 13 years old because it was causing a gap between my front teeth. Afterwards, I wore braces for 4 years and religiously wore a retainer for over a year after that. It wasn’t until I misplaced my retainer that I noticed my teeth spacing apart again. I am now 22, and the gap between my front teeth is about as big as it was before the frenectomy. It wasn’t until I came across this page that I learned a frenectomy is supposed to be done AFTER the gap is closed. I was never aware of this before, and unfortunately, mine was performed before braces. I don’t understand why they did it this way since I even remember them briefly mentioning the scar tissue issue. BOOOO. 🙁 So, I recommend anyone reading to take the advice. If it is not causing any pain, close the teeth first!!!

  92. I recently had a labial frenectomy 3 months back to close a small gap between my front two teeth. Since then upper lip is slightly elevated and more stretchable than before.. Is it possible to fix back the frenum?.

  93. Hello,

    My almost 3 year old keeps telling me his upper lip hurts and today pointed to his front teeth… He has a slight gap, but being so young I wasn’t concerned. Today I laid him on his back and realized the frenulum is so thick it’s hard to even pull his front lip out… At first I thought it was just stuck between his front teeth and then after looking and feeling the roof of his mouth, I realized it is attached (small bump form) to the roof of his mouth – so through his front teeth and behind his front teeth onto the roof of his mouth (almost center of roof). It’s not inflamed or bright red. Just looks painful and he says it hurts. I can swear it wasn’t even there 6 months ago!
    This comment thread made me realize how common these things can be, but I don’t see much with people stating the thick skin goes through the teeth and attached to roof on inside of mouth…
    Is this common ?

    Thank you, and of course I will take him in as well for a couple opinions.

  94. I’m 21 yrs old..a dental student 🙂 i’ve done ortho treatment 3 yrs back, because i had class 1& it was for 2 years. Soon after the treatment my teeth was perfect…no gaps. recently i noticed a gap in between my front teeth(diastema).I did not wear my retainers which i’m supposed to wear for around 6 months. so should i go for frenectomy? or can i use the same retainer?
    how to know whether my dentist is good at it?? i’m lil nervous about the surgery! is it painful?? can u tell the drawback of this surgery?? Help me..

    • The procedure is not painful if done correctly. Advil usually controlls the pain for my patients postoperatively. It is difficult to say if a retainer would correct the diastema, or that you would need ortho Tx again. I would recommend making an appointment with your orthodontist and go over the options (bring your retainer). A permanent lingual bonded retainer works well for kids that don’t wanna wear retainers. My instructor says “wrinkly skin, wrinkly teeth”. If you don’t wear your retainer, then the teeth will likely move back a little. Ask about fiberotomy as well. It’s a simple procedure that involves cutting fibers that surround your teeth that may be responsible for “tooth memory”. Hope that helps! DLP

  95. After seeing an article about lip ties posted to a parenting group I subscribe to, I knew right away that my youngest son had this. After looking at pictures and looking at his mouth, it would appear that he has a Class IV attachment to the papilla. i am going to go to our dentist regarding the laser procedure. my son is 8 months and i’m going in for a consult. what are your thoughts on the laser procedure?

    • Laser is ok if used correctly. Many doc’s use electrocautery as well without properly making an incision, completely removing the tissue, denuding the alveolar bone and approximating both sides and suturing (for maxillary frenum). Why I say this is b/c I have seen them reattach if not done this way. I use a “zig-zag” incision with traditional scalpel for lingual ties (rare). Laser would probably facilitate less bleeding. I feel these are over done. See a pediatric dentist for an expert opinion. DLP

  96. Great that you are educating people on the frenum. Not that it is of much consequence, but you incorrectly stated that the band of tissue is muscle. The band of tissue from the mucogingival junction to the alveolar mucosa is no different than any other area of the mouth except for it’s configuration(Freidman and Levine 1964). Remnant tectolabial bands from about the 3mth mark inutero are supposed to migrate up away from the teeth with normal alveolar vertical growth… it just doesn’t happen sometimes (Sicher 1962). Many studies have been done on diastemas. One very well known study by Taylor (1939) states that approximately 98% of children 6-7 have a diastema, and by the age 12-18 only 7%. This is due to multiple factors not worth getting into. I’d advise as you have with Tx. I’ve done expansion that causes a diastema prior to eruption of the canines, and seen it close by itself without ortho by age 12-13. Great job on the article. DLP

  97. Hi:-)..Im a 22yr old final yr medical student..i had done a labial frenectomy few months back to close a small gap in between my front two teeth..frenulum was completely excised but since then my upper lip seems to be more stretchable and my smile appears to be wider which looks awkward..cud u pls tell me if there is any way to fix back the frenum?..thank u

  98. I hada frenetomy done a couple years back when I had braces but I have this extra piece of tissue on my under upper lip. It kids resembles a frenectomy and is a little piece of lip tissue that pops out. I don’t know what it is and can I get it removed.

  99. Hello,
    I am a 25 yr old male who got a lingual frenectomy done via laser and it reattached (or it wasn’t completely removed, i cannot tell which case it was). I want to get it re-done because i now have only slightly improved range of motion with my tongue. What do you know of the success rate of re-do frenectomies?

  100. hello, my daughter’s teeth are all in with no gaps between the upper front teeth. Her orthodontist says she needs braces and she needs a frenectomy (upper lip area) because this could cause the gums to recede or periodontal; disease later on in life. can this happen? He wants to refer her to a gum doctor.

  101. hello, my daughter’s teeth are all in with no gaps between the upper front teeth. Her orthodontist says she needs braces and she needs a frenectomy (upper lip area) because this could cause the gums to recede or periodontal; disease later on in life. can this happen? He wants to refer her to a gum doctor.BTW—this condition is not bothering her and her teeth and gums are healthy.

  102. I had a maxillary labial frenectomy when I was about 13 years old because it was causing a gap between my front teeth. Afterwards, I wore braces for 4 years and religiously wore a retainer for over a year after that. It wasn’t until I misplaced my retainer that I noticed my teeth spacing apart again. I am now 22, and the gap between my front teeth is about as big as it was before the frenectomy. It wasn’t until I came across this page that I learned a frenectomy is supposed to be done AFTER the gap is closed. I was never aware of this before, and unfortunately, mine was performed before braces. I don’t understand why they did it this way since I even remember them briefly mentioning the scar tissue issue. BOOOO. 🙁 So, I recommend anyone reading to take the advice. If it is not causing any pain, close the teeth first!!!

  103. I’m really paranoid that my daughter will have a gummy smile since we had hers revised at 3 weeks old. She has almost no tissue connecting the upper lip and since I’ve read so many sites saying it will cause a gummy smile. What are your thoughts?

  104. My daughter (20 months) has this. She isn’t saying many words yet at all and seems to have a slur when she does say words. She won’t eat hard foods. And, whenever I move her lip up to brush her front teeth, the frenulum bleeds. Where should I get an appointment to get it taken care of? Her pedi has never mentioned it, I had to google everything. Do I contact a DDS, ENT or what?

  105. I have a 7 year old daughter that has a gap between her front teeth. Her baby teeth have been out for 2 years. Her oral surgeon wants to do a frenectomy. Do you think she should have braces first? Or what do you recommend?

  106. Hi
    I believe my daughter has an attached upper lip frenulum. She is only 2 and hasn’t been to the dentist yet but hers look like the pictures I’ve seen. She fights me and will jot let me brush her top teeth very well and I noticed tonight when I was trying to brush them that they actually have a started to get a yellow tint to them. I tryed to lift her lip and get to the teeth better but bc of the attachment I couldn’t. I also noticed it was bleeding slightly from the tooth brush. Do you think that the best thing for her would be the surgery in order foe me to brush her teeth properly

    • Hi Shelley – That may be best, but it would be a good idea to take her to a dentist or pediatric dentist to be sure. Anytime it is interfering with oral hygiene, it may need to be trimmed.

  107. Hello Dr,

    My 17 month old son injured his maxillary fernulum on 13th June 2014, and was bleeding. I took him immediately to my ped. However he said bleeding will stop on it’s own and sent me away. But by the end of the day, my son was bleeding profusely and we took him to emergency. The dr made a suture and the bleeding stopped. But next night, my son fell on his bed playfully before going to sleep, with a pacifier in his mouth. The suture came out and it was bleeding a lot again. We again took him to emergency and as the bleeding did not stop over 1-2 hours, the dr examined and gave him 2 new sutures. This time, the bleeding did not stop immediately. They said we should be in observation for few hours at hospital and then, if the situation does not improve, he may have to be operated. But bleeding stopped after few hours and we came home. It’s a week now and he has been bleeding on and off, finally more heavily with some tissue hanging near his mouth. He is using a pacifier. Does the use of pacifier delay his chances of healing. I would really appreciate your opinion.

    Thanks and regards

    • Hi Padma – It sounds like he’s been through a lot! I’m glad it seems to be getting better.

      I would think that the pacifier would cause him to suck, which would put extra stress on the frenum causing bleeding. It will likely still heal with the pacifier, but it may take more time. Good luck!

      • Hello Dr,

        Thank you for your response. Yes, I too think he has been through a lot and there seems to be no end to this.

        My son uses the pacifier only during/before going to sleep. But in the last 2-3 days he seems to be bleeding on impact on anything, I mean even a slight impact causes some tissue to hang out in between his front two teeth and it’s bleeding. Today we were playing outdoors and by chance he hit my hand. He started bleeding a lot for 20-30 minutes and I gave him ice cold water and tried to dap cold cloth on his mouth. Bleeding stopped and I managed to make him sleep. But I wonder what’s in store tomorrow morning. There seems to be no end to this. I am not sure if this is normal to bleed on slight impact, nearly a week after his second sutures.

        Is this normal? Am I missing something? When will such an injury heal typically? For example based on your experiences from other cases. How long should I continue with this first aid and tolerate this bleeding before I take the next step. But what is the next step. I am quite concerned about the bleeding, and find myself Lost and helpless. Is some sort of operation/correction needed or a test on bleeding time/clotting factors required?

        I am grateful to you for your opinion/answers.

        Best regards

        • Hi Padma – Over time, I would think that it should improve. The oral tissues usually heal relatively quickly compared to the rest of the body.

          Did they do any tests in the hospital for any bleeding disorders? There could be something more to this if it’s taking a very long time to heal.

          • Hello Dr,

            No, they did not do any tests here. I live in Germany. But my mom, back in India, is a retired general physician. She suggested to me that she would rule out bleeding disorders if it’s taking a long time to heal.

            But I was wondering what is a long time for the oral damage as in my sons case and age. On the other hand, I took low molecular weight heparin injections during my pregnancy. I was wondering if this has any effect on bleeding time for my son.

            Best regards

            • Hi Padma – That’s a little outside my area of expertise, but this study seems to demonstrate that LMWH doesn’t cross the placenta during pregnancy, so I would assume that it wouldn’t have an effect on your child, but I could be wrong.

              With that kind of bleeding, it would be a good idea to call the treating dentist and see what they think about it. They are the ones that know exactly how big the laceration is and what complications your son might have during healing. If they think it’s unusual, they may recommend certain tests – it’s hard to give any opinion since I haven’t ever seen your son. Good luck!

  108. I’ve been reading your blog and am impressed with your quick responses and detailed information. Recently I noticed that my almost 9 year old daughter had what I thought was a receeding gum on the bottom front tooth. The dentist referred her to a periodontist who said the lower frenium was pulling down on the gum, making it receed. Although he did say it wasn’t “receeded” yet as that’s actually when the gum goes below the root and that hasn’t happened. But that she should have a soft tissue graft where he’ll take skin from the roof of her mouth and put it where the gum should be. In addition, he will snip the frenium to prevent it from pulling down. After reading through this blog I’m wondering if just snipping the frenium is adequate and if the graft is overkill?

    He is also recommending to snip the top frenium as she has a space between her front teeth and a bad overbite due to thumb sucking. But it seems like I should wait on that until after braces and after the canines come in. I only want to do it now so that she doesn’t have to go through surgery twice. I’m interested in your thoughts. Thanks in advance for your response!

    • Hi Sandy – Most literature agrees that cutting the upper frenum before the canines come in may be unnecessary and actually prevent the gap from closing.

      A graft on someone that young does seem unusual, especially considering that she isn’t showing any root on the tooth and that as she grows, the positions of her teeth and gums will likely move… A second opinion could help make you more comfortable in making these decisions.

      I hope that helps! Thanks for your kind words.

      • I should have thought about a second opinion! I understood that once the gum is on it’s way to receding it won’t come back up. But being a child and having a lot of changes coming over the next years it sounds like anything is possible. I had read above about the woman who’s front gum was like this as a child and explains to any new dentist that it’s been like that for many years and it sounds like that’s not a problem, in that it won’t cause issue if it doesn’t go below the gum. I’ll have to check on getting a second opinion. Thanks so much for your input. It’s much appreciated.

    • Hi Sandy – One other thought I had was that if there’s not enough “attached gingiva” (firm, pink gum tissue) underneath the bottom teeth, then a graft can be considered as well even if the roots aren’t showing. If that’s how he explained it to you, then it may be worth looking into.

      The book Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent states, “The free gingival autograft porcedure (FGG) may be considered for children and young adults when there is a prominent tooth position that is complicated by absence of attached gingiva, a shallow vestibular fornix, and a high midline frenum attachment. FGG is also indicated when there are areas of root exposure that are an esthetic concern to the patient, when the labial gingivae of some teeth require subgingival crown margins, when teeth are clasped by a removable partial denture having a narrow zone of gingiva, and when teeth that have no labial keratinized gingiva need orthodontic movement, which makes them more prominent in the arch. When these indications are kept in mind, it will be apparent that FGG is not always the best procedure. There may be an esthetic concern with the surrounding gingiva because the autograft will remain the same color and texture as the palatal donor site. FGG will not cover the area of recession, but rather will prevent its progression.”

      I hope that helps!

  109. I am a speech pathologist and am noticing my daughter’s superior labial tie a little late in the game…she is exclusively breastfeed and has no difficulty with her latch, nor does she demonstrate difficulty holding her lips together. Her lingual frenulum (anterior and posterior) are WNL.

    I am concerned about dentition in the future. Her top baby teeth have just erupted with a space around the excess tissue (at midline). My question is this: if she doesn’t have trouble eating nor with speech (and I don’t foresee her having difficulty approximating bilabials for target sounds), is there a reason to “clip” her tie for dentition reasons?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Carleigh – There are different schools of thought on this, but I was taught that if there aren’t any problems, then it is best to wait until adolescence and then evaluate to see if it looks like the frenum is causing a space or abnormalities. If there are any, they can easily be corrected at that time.

  110. My 16 year old daughter is scheduled for a frenectomy – she has had braces. Our dentist tells me that her upper and lower labial frenum need to be removed because they are so close to the teeth and can cause receding gums. Do you think this this a necessary procedure?

  111. Hi! My daughter is in braces, and is scheduled to have an upper frenectomy in about 2 weeks. I was wondering, just how serious is this, and how painful it will be. Thank you!

  112. Hi Dr Tom,
    My 8 year old daughter recently had her bite corrected with braces to an over bite.
    Her orthodontics said that her frenum is too low and may cause the two front teeth to gap. He suggested surgery to remove it before removing her braces.
    She has not had problems with her gums because of her frenum.
    Could you please kindly advise if it is ok to wait for the surgery or maybe not even do it until the 2 front teeth gap?
    I would like to send you a picture, may I please email it to you?
    I am having trouble attaching it here.
    Thank you very much.

  113. hello, I was wondering if this should be done to myself? when I stick my tounge out, my lingual frenulum touches in between my to front bottom teeth. I am concerned and am wondering if I should get this done? I have no problems with speech, but it bothers me immensely; especially when I touch it and look at it in the mirror. please give your answer to my email.

  114. Dear Dr. Tom,
    First I commend you in your responses back to all these people who are lookin for help. You have been responding for years!! I read tons of other comments. My question is my 14 months old nurses still and drinks one bottle a day, has a thick upper tie. I’ve been to her pediatrician and ENT and both said don’t fix it unless I want to. It leaves a big gap and she has been a terrible nurser but made it the whole year plus nursing. What I’m asking is now I see a little dent in her tooth and some calcium on one tooth. It’s says that the ULT causes tooth decay. I don’t want to get it cut. But I don’t want her to have oral issues either 🙁 .
    Thank you,

  115. Tom,

    First let me thank you for all the information you put out. You are helping a LOT of people. I don’t see how you get anything done besides answer questions. Keep up the good work. I hope all the good will comes back to you ten fold.

    Now, I’ll talk about frenotomies. I have probably done over a thousand in the last 5 years. I NEVER would have imagined this when I left dental school over 37 years ago. I never would have imagined it 8 years ago! If you want good information on infants and tongue ties and lip ties, check the websites of the late Brian Palmer ( and the Pedodontist, Larry Kotlow ( Mostly it is done to aid the nursing ability for the baby and to prevent the pain to the nipple of the nursing mother. ‘Didn’t teach me that in dental school, for sure.

    Also, not everything in textbooks is “gospel.” Textbooks may be 5-10 years behind. Periodicals may be 1-2 years behind. With electronic media, people can be pretty much up to date. And one reason is people like you doing your blogs. Keep at it. (Also, I hear everything on the internet may not be true — including me. So, do your due diligence.)


    Stacy Cole
    Stacy V. Cole, DDS

  116. Hi there!

    I had a gap in my two front teeth that was closed by braces a good 4 years ago. The gap is returning due to a the frenum pull and I’ve been told I need to have that fixed. The gap is very very small, and I do have a retainer that I wear nightly. I’m worried if I get this frenum taken care of while I have a tiny gap, that the gap may not close back up? Even with the help of my retainer?


  117. Hi, I’m wondering if a lingual frenectomy would be necessary for an 18 year old with no noticeable speech problems.. Dentist said there is a lisp but I don’t hear it…
    Also a frenectomy for the connection of gum and check because of gum recession, what would happen in did not do frenectomy?

  118. Hi, I had an upper labial frenectomy about a year ago and then I got braces to close my gaps. I have now noticed that my guns on my two front teeth have receded, making my teeth look bigger/longer but the others haven’t and its leaving a sort of build up of gum between my front two teeth and the next ones along either side. It is very noticeable in my smile because my teeth are small anyway and I was wondering if this was to do with the frenectomy or anything else? Also I have been left with a lump in my lip which catches on my teeth when I smile and makes it look odd(sort of triangular) do you know what could have caused this? I would be pleased to hear any advice, thanks. (I’m 16 years old)

  119. Please Help! My daughter had a frenectomy at age 4. The dentist advised us to do it. I trusted that the doctor was directing me to do the right thing and followed through. She is now 6. She has not lost any of her baby teeth (not worried about that) but I am terrified she will have a gummy smile since we did have the frenectomy. She seems to have a gummy smile now as a child ( not sure if it was caused by the frenectomy) but will it get better or worse as she ages and gets her permanent teeth?

  120. Please, Please Help! My daughter had a frenectomy at age 4. The dentist advised us to do it. I trusted that the doctor was directing me to do the right thing and followed through. She is now 6. She has not lost any of her baby teeth (not worried about that) but I am terrified she will have a gummy smile since we did have the frenectomy. She seems to have a gummy smile now as a child ( not sure if it was caused by the frenectomy) but will it get better or worse as she ages and gets her permanent teeth?

  121. I am 21, I have had a maxillary labial frenectomy and braces twice, but the gap between my two front teeth is still opening up again despite having a permanent retainer. Is there something which I should do from here?

  122. I am 21, I have had a maxillary labial frenectomy and braces twice, but the gap between my two front teeth are still opening up again despite having a permanent retainer. Is there something which I should do from here?

  123. Hey, sorry if you’re already been asked this but I couldn’t see any of the comments on the first page that were the same as mine. So I’m 18 and I only just seemed to have gotten the growth on the top of the inside of my mouth in the last few days but there seems to be no gap forming in my teeth or anything it just really hurts and my gums are aching too. Do you think it will just go away or do I have to worry about it because my gums are hurting a lot as well?

  124. So, I recently went to the dentist and, with my lower frenum, they’re wanting to do a frenectomy. They seem to think it’s preventing me from adequately cleaning my teeth in my brushing and they’re concerned that it’s too tight and could cause problems later on. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet. What does the frenum do? I’m 21 and this is the first time this issue has been brought up – but then again, this dentist does a lot of things my former one didn’t. Should I be concerned? I’m just not sure…

  125. Tom,

    If you want a proper informative article, do not insert your own opinion into it. It becomes a guided article at that point and is no longer a source of unbiased information. I found it far less helpful ince inrealized you were pushing your iwn conjecture as fact.

    -better luck next time

  126. I’m 21, and I noticed that the labial frenum under my upper lip has either shrunken back or isn’t as long as it used to be. Is that normal for someone at my age?

  127. Hi Dr. Tom,

    I am a dental hygienist in Los Angeles and there are many pediatric dentist performing laser frenectomies starting with newborns. My daughter has a labial frenectomy that attaches between teeth E and F. She was able to nurse perfectly and has no problem eatting or talking. I was referred to an Oral Surgeon by my pediatric dentist. I am skeptical to have a consult and don’t know if I should wait until she is older to have it done. Is it possible that when the adult teeth come in the frenum will not be attached interproximally?
    Thank you,

  128. I was born with a gap and I have extra skin the dentist said they would laser it off but my mouth is to small and I’m kind of scared looking at the photos but my family joke about it and it makes me embarrassed

  129. My son is scheduled to have a maxillary frenectomy performed. Our orthodontist recommended this procedure because he is afraid his two front teeth will separate once the braces are removed. Is general anesthesia needed to perform this procedure or would a local anesthetic be adequate ?

  130. I know someone who is very concern that the labial frenum in their 2 year old daughter is causing them not to be able to drink from a hard top sippy cup. The labial frenum is right above the front teeth and was actually attached to the teeth until she accidentally fell and cut it. Can this cause her to not be able to drink properly? Would it be best if she goes to the dentisit to get it checked out? Thank you for the information

  131. I was in a car accident and I was feeling pain in my superior labial frenulum. I looked and saw it was somewhat torn. A couple days later, I noticed it was completely gone. I was wondering if it will grow back? I am 15 years old. And I was wondering if it will slightly reconstruct my face in any way. Like the way my lips fall, how I smile, or any of my other facial features.

  132. hi I’m 20yr old. my teeth are not oriented. maxillary frenum move apart 2 front teeths and occupies in the space. since my tooth are not aligned 2 teeths each from upper and lower had removed at childhood (8-10yrs).
    now some new teeth had formed and no space it hurts gums .
    when I consulted dentist he suggested that to put braces but before that frenectomy should be done.
    shall I do frenectomy?

  133. Tom my name is Anne and my dentist says after my braces come off I need to get my frectum removed. And I don’t know what to do I don’t have an eating problem and I don’t have a swallowing problem I was tongue tied when I was little and I have all my adult teeth but I just don’t want to go through with the risk that something could go wrong what should i do there’s no real problem with my speech either except besides the braces.

  134. I am in a lot of pain with my front two lower teeth shifting and as a result I see the labial frenulum slightly tearing away..I cannot brush and am in pain 24/7. What do you advise me to do? Thanks

  135. Hi Ben,

    Firstly thanks for any help, seems like you have helped a lot of people. My 11 month old baby got his first tooth at 5 months and pretty much has a full mouth of teeth already. He fell hard tonight and his mouth was bleeding so much I gave him a drink of cold water and a teething ring to suck on which seemed to help. On closer look it looks like he has torn his femdulm it has come away from the gum and seems to be cut!! Is this really bad? He already had a gap. Is this going to be worse when he gets his next set of teeth?

  136. I had my upper frenulum removed about a week ago and there is a small hole in my upper lip/gum and it is deep (can fit the tip of a bobby pin in it) it this normal? What happened?

  137. Hello – my daughter is four years old and has really deep grooves in her teeth, so despite me brushing her teeth well every morning and night, she has a lot of decay and needs to have work done that requires putting he under (according to our dentist anyway). Since her first visit when she was 2 years old, her dentist said she would likely need a maxillary frenectomy eventually. Since he has to put her under for the dental work anyway, he’s recommending doing the frenectomy at the same time. Would love your thoughts on this recommendation given that the frenectomy is otherwise unnecessary at this point. (Of course, I also understand why he’s saying it knock it all out at once.)

  138. Hi & thanks for these great info
    I’d truly appreciate if you could advise me on this: I am 46 & had crown lengthening gum surgery on my upper teeth 10 days ago for esthetic reasons. Now my doctor says I have to do frenectomy as everyone does after this type of surgery.! This came to me as a shock as he had not talked to me at all about this beforehand.
    Anyway, I’d really would love to know if it will shorten my upper lip or vice versa. And what are the cons in general? Will it serve a justified esthetic purpose and if it has functional downsides. Many many thanks for your time & help in advance.

  139. Hello- I am 30 yrs old. I had dark gums an broad smile which made my gums visible to an extend.
    So to correct it had undergone some treatments wherein my gums were operated above my regular gum line & frenum was detached saying that was the reason for my Vertically broad smile. As the time is passing i am noticing their is no change in my visible gum size even after cutting it. My upper lip takes place even higher than before while smiling infact they look like a laugh, my smile is mostly happening towards my left (a visibly crooked awkward smile), and mostly while talking my lips at times just hang onn to my mouth upper gums and i can not bring them back to their regular placement. this is really embarrassing as i have to stop my speech in between to correct it in a very irregular way. This is probably cause i do not have any control over my upper lips anymore due to Frenectomy.
    Can you please suggest if their is any way that i can have control over my upper lips again.

  140. Hi… i recently took my 16 month old son to his first dentist appointment… aftee checking him the dentist told me he has a maxillary frenum type 4 and suggested having it removed with laser.. after reading this im wondering if i should go through with it…

  141. Hi! I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter who has Apraxia of Speech. She has the upper muscle attachment that keeps her top two teeth apart. She’s also missing a lower incisor. Not sure if that’s relevant. Anyway, my question is, does having that muscle attached that way on the top, affect speech development. Or proper closure of the lips? It’s noteworthy that she has low muscle tone in her oral muscles as well.
    Thanks for any input!
    Christina Berry

  142. I am 22 years old and I have a big gap between my two front teeth, in fact one is crooked and turning towards the other. The orthodontists i went to see is recommending I have a maxillary frenectomy before they can begin treatment. I have read here and other places that its better to have it done after the gap is closed if necessary. I would like to avoid going to another orthodontist because of the cost of the visit and xrays. So I was wondering if I should go through with it or can I try to talk to them and see if they will start with braces first?

  143. I just took my 13 month old to the dentist for the first time and she is saying he might need both done she said he has a high frenum MX/MD and possible 8x wants to send him to a pediodontist to be looked at not sure what it all means

  144. my son is 7 years old , he has gap between upper two teeth … can we go for frenectomy tratment..if frenectomy not done what problems will come can you suggest me…..

  145. I noticed when my son was just a few months old that something didn’t look right with his upper lip and gums. I now know what it is called, his is real bad though. He is now 1 year old, his is literally all the way between his two front teeth. He had a very hard time latching when he was born, but now he is fine with that. It almost looks like it comes from the inside of his lip, on the lip, and runs thick across in between his front two teeth. Yes, they have a huge gap comparable to Goofy. I think it is so cute now, but I know he won’t later in life. What should I do?

  146. Thank you for the information on when to get a Frenectomy. My youngest daughter has a restrictive lingual frenum on her tongue that has always concerned me. I’m comforted now that I know that being tongue-tied is a normal occurrence in young children. I’ll make sure to keep an eye on it and if it starts causing a problem we’ll follow your advice and get a frenectomy.

  147. Thanks for explaining how a frenectomy can help give children a more normal tongue function. If the attachment extends to the tip of the tongue, it makes sense that eating, drinking, and speaking could be difficult. It seems like it is very important to look into a procedure like a frenectomy if it is causing serious problems.

  148. Sometimes kids, like adults, can benefit from therapy. Therapy can help kids develop problem-solving skills and also teach them the value of seeking help. Therapists can help kids and families cope with stress and a variety of emotional and behavioral issues.

  149. I had an upper labial frenum, not painful at all and had my front teeth crowned. After the procedure the dentist said he did a little “cosmetic” something, of which I knew nothing about. Went home, when the novacaine wore off…..oh my gosh the pain! It felt like my upper lip was in a vice and being twisted! It was more painful than any root canal or extraction! The dental staff said the pain should have been pretty minor. It’s been almost 2 years and I have inside upper lip pain off and on. Just from it rubbing against my front teeth. Which are very smooth. Is this normal?

  150. I have done a frenectomy for my girl child when she is 6 years old. Now I feel that her in the center of the upper lip line and its shape has changed? whether frenectomy will change the shape of the upper lip line? If so what is the possible ways for proper lip line

  151. I was told at my last visit to the dentist (about a week ago) that I would need to get my wisdom teeth removed and have a frenectomy preformed. I was wondering if these could be completed at the same time (while I am under anesthesia), or if I would have to get the procedures done separately?

  152. Hi Dr
    I’m a 36 year old woman with a gap between my two front top teeth. I’ve been struggling with the gap growing wider over the past 10yrs or so. What I also noticed is that the flesh between the gap seems to be growing downwards… I had some episodes over time where it would be sore and slightly swollen. I’m not sure if this linked to the labial frenum or something different. I don’t have a problem with my gap… I actually love it but I don’t like that it’s getting wider. I want it to be about 2-3mm as it was before. I tried doing cosmetic fillers to narrow the gap by 2mm, but it’s now back to approx 5mm and I’m worried it will keep getting wider. What would you advise I do to stop the tissue between my gums from growing and what I can do to narrow the gap (not close it).

  153. The area (skin?) behind and between my two front upper teeth is irritated and feels a little swollen. I used dental floss to rid the area of what seemed to be food stuck. That was 4 days ago. Used mouth wash and warm water with salt. It has gone down some, but not completely and is uncomfortable when eating. What do you recommend?
    Thank you.

  154. Thank you for all this information. I have a concern though. My 3 year old had to get his 2 front teeth removed and replaced with porcelain crowns. Through his healing I came to find his maxillary frenum was torn and just dangling. Should I be concerned?

    Thank You

  155. I have a 15 month old son and took him to the dentist cause he chipped his tooth. She mentioned he had an attached frenulum and that was causing him a little gap. She didn’t mention anything about clipping it but was like you should start looking into a speech therapist cause he’s most likely going to have a speech impediment. Now I’ve been stressing over this For two weeks and I don’t know what to do. He already says tons of words and it doesn’t seem to bother him but I’m nervous. She also mentioned this would affect his teeth. Anyone know anything about this on toddler?

    • I can’t speak for toddlers specifically, but I can tell you I had a pretty significant attached frenulum and did not have surgery until I was 13. I never had speech issues before or after, but I guess it can be a case to case basis. If you do not have any concerns about his speech right now I would not worry about it too much.

  156. Hi my little boys (he is 20months old) labial frenum was torn in a bump on the tramopline. I have been to the gp and she said not to worry aslong as it heels okay. After reading about scar tissue causing a gap in the front teeth that cant be rectified i am a little worried. Should i be concerned. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  157. Hi. I’m Kath,25. I had my braces on last 2015. Now, my dentist is telling me to have frenectomy done before she remove my braces so as to prevent my two front teeth setting apart that’s according to her. I’m scared honestly. and there are lots of questions now running in my mind. Is it possible that the dentist will be able to detect any case such as that before putting braces on? is it really true that if I’m not going under such surgery,my teeth will have gap? I’m honestly, desperately hoping not to go under frenectomy.

  158. I had a frenectomy when I was five or six, when my ‘baby” teeth came out and before my permanent teeth came in. This was is 1934 or 5. Never had to have braces and my teeth are well aligned. (Still have all my teeth except “wisdom” teeth.) My daughter has a frenectomy much later when she was treated with braces for a cross bite. When I suggest the procedure to our dentist when she lost her deciduous teeth, he scoffed at the idea although he recognized the problem.

    For both of us it was a very simple procedure without stitches and a local. I don’t remember any pain associated with it or discomfort.

    My mother also had the condition but it was never treated. (She was born in 1885). It caused problems when she needed dentures.

  159. I’m a twenty three year old woman. A couple days ago I noticed tugging on the bottom right inside my lip. I felt it with my tongue and pulled my lip down to view it in the mirror. It looks as if a frenulum has formed in that place. It pulls when I smile and it is causing discomfort. What should I do?!

  160. I’m a student with braces who just had a Frenectomy today. The surgery went well and I’ve been icing it and take Advil every 4 or 5 hours. Is it reccomended to go to miss school the next day?

  161. Hi there,
    Our daughter is 3 1/2 and our pediatric dentist strongly suggests a frenectomy. Our daughter is not having any pain or issues. She has a space between her teeth but he never mentioned scar tissue potentially causing a problem in the future. Is it more painful or involved to have it done if a child is older vs. baby teeth years?

  162. Hi my son is 6yrs old and had a bump with hes friend at hes party he seemed to have hurt the upper part of hes mouth were lip attaches to gum it seems to gave splits abit as its moving it was also bleeding but stop should i be worried or does this heal?? should i take him doc or dentist??

  163. Hi Tom,
    My 14 month old just had his first dentist appointment on Thursday. I was so excited and feeling positive because we brush his teeth very frequently. When the dentist came in she noticed he had 4 cavities on his top teeth, my heart immediately broke because I thought we were doing everything we could to prevent them (including avoiding juice, and other sugary drinks) but he did have a bottle of milk before bed and that obviously didn’t help. They also mentioned his gums and said he would need to have it removed it was a quick procedure. But when she explained what she had to do and that he was awake the whole time I wanted to say no. And still do. He’s still a baby and the idea of him being strapped up and having a needle and then a pair of scissors coming at his face terrifies me! So I can only imagine him going through it…alone. My question is, is it possible to have them put him under while they do the procedure? I know she said it takes about 5 mins but I’m not worried about the time. I know he needs to have it done because it’s effecting his teeth from getting properly cleaned.

  164. Can frenectomy be done for cosmetic purposes? I want to get surgery of labial Frenum done as the tag makes my smile look bad. My teeth don’t show when I smile due to the tag.

  165. When my son was almost 2 y/o, he fell at the babysitter’s house, hitting his mouth on the coffee table. The fall sliced his frenum. At the time, I had no idea what had just happened. I rushed him to the doctor and was told that he needed a frenectomy anyway and that this fall just saved me a lot of money. He has had no issues with his teeth, gums, frenum or otherwise since. He does have a beautiful smile now whereas, before, his lip wouldn’t rise when he smiled.

  166. I’m an adult and have recently undergone a lingual frenectomy. This dentist felt that it was necessary as I reported to him a new diagnosis of sleep apnea. He stated that the wide spacing of my teeth has already shown him that my tongue has some protusion. THIS procedure would promote better breathing and that he would then provide a jaw thrust mouth guard that would pull my jaw forward at night so that I could breathe better and decrease the grinding on my teeth. The way that my mouth is feeling post surgery. I’m regretting the process and feeling like this was a waste of money? Was a lingual frenectomy really necessary in my case for better breathing?

  167. I have a 18 month old grandson who has a frenum in between upper teeth. It has been bleeding periodically and it is always when he is sleeping. My fear is that he will choke if he is on his back. The dentist told us to go to an ENT and the ENT told us they do not do that procedure. When we called a Pediatric Oral Surgeon we were told they could see us in March. Please tell me what you opinion is of the bleeding and if he has to be seen sooner.

  168. My daughter is 10 yrs old with braces that are about a month old. I have been told in the past by a denist to watch if she ever fell and hit or had trauma to her labial frenum. Well, two days ago she mention the roof of her mouth being sore, we thought she might have biten something and irritated it. We looked at it tonight because it was still bothering her and it seemed worse, the whole labial frenum is swollen up. I hope it’s not from her braces!

  169. Hi Tom,
    I have read many of your responses and cannot find one that covers my question a different question…My 10 year old is having 8 teeth removed (4 permanent) and the surgeon suggested she have the lower frenulum cut because the gum below one of her front teeth is slightly lower than the other, to prevent recession.

    Is this too early to recommend the procedure for gum recession? I read you suggested to wait till canines come in, but is that only in the case of when it is done due to spacing between the teeth?

    Please let me know your thoughts as they want to do this next Wednesday and I don’t want to do it unnecessarily.
    Thank you, Kay

  170. Hi Mr Drapers
    I’m 16 years old and i have spaces between my teeth and i’m eligible to get braces but my orthodontist had told me that i’d have to get a labial frenectomy and i was wondering whether if the surgery is perform before or after i get my braces done.

  171. My 15yr old son has lip tie an up until now I hadnt realised he has had a brace on his upper an lower teeth for around 12month as treatment for overbite but he’s due to have his braces removed in October and now I’m thinking that his lip tie is what has caused the problem with his upper teeth an once the brace is off the lip tie will cause the teeth to be pulled back out of shape again could we get the lip tie treated once the braces are off to prevent this?

  172. I am 38. I’m considering getting a frenectomy at the top of my mouth. I had a gap between my 2 front teeth, but closed it with braces and they put a permanent bar retainer behind my 2 teeth. That bar has had to be replaced 3 times after wear-n-tear. The last Ortho made me a fixed clear retainer to wear at night, but I think it has caused me headaches (not sure if it’s that or my hormone imbalance, but I see a pattern). My question to you is, what are the side effects with a frenectomy and if you think it would be worth it or not in my case? Thank you!

  173. Hello TOM
    The article is very nicely put forward and very easy to understand. I am a periodontist and appreciate your effort in increasing awareness among patients. I have treated many child patients with lingual frenum using a Laser. As you mentioned in the article, Lingual frenum does affect speech in many patients.
    Many people do ask me about the difference between frenectomy and frenectomy. The Main Difference Between These Procedures is that “A frenectomy involves completely removing the frenulum, while during a frenotomy, the frenulum is snipped and slightly relocated.”

    Thank you Tom for


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