Sometimes children who have speech problems are labeled tongue-tied. This refers to a band of tissue, called the frenum, under the tongue that holds the tongue down more than normal, which limits the ability to speak clearly. The good news is that a simple procedure called a frenectomy can be done in less than 15 minutes.

Another type of frenum is found connecting the lip to the gum in front of the teeth. On the upper front teeth, an overly pronounced frenum can cause a space between the front teeth. If you notice this on your first grader, now is the time to have this treated so that when the canines come in (usually around age 9-11) they will generally push the front teeth back together eliminating this space naturally. On the lower front teeth, an overly pronounced frenum can pull at the gum tissue of these lower teeth causing gum recession, poor appearance and perhaps loosening of the teeth. Again, a frenectomy that can be completed in less than 15 minutes solves these problems.


A frenectomy is a simple procedure. Using a scalpel or a laser, the surgeon will excise the frenum in question. When conducted with a laser, the surgery tends to cause very little bleeding, does not require sutures, and often results in very little post-procedure discomfort. The procedure is generally done with local anesthesia.

Sample of before and after a Frenectomy

Before Frenectomy

HealthPark Dentistry: Before Frenectomy

After Frenectomy

HealthPark Dentistry: After Frenectomy