What is the Difference Between a Frenectomy and Frenulectomy?

Last updated Sunday, February 25th, 2024

What is the Difference Between a Frenectomy and Frenulectomy?

Professional help can solve lip-tie and tongue-tie problems. But which procedure works best for you? Knowing more about available options makes it easy to choose. Then you can take a proactive approach to your oral health.

Differences between a frenectomy and a frenulectomy tend to vary. A frenulectomy can refer to a basic nip into the frenulum. While frenectomies do the same, they can also go further. Sometimes the frenum may be completely removed during this procedure.

So which option works best? Luckily, you don’t have to decide. Contacting Smiles by Hanna gives you instant access to premium oral care. The process begins with a thorough exam by Dr. Mansoor. This trusted professional can then advise you on which procedure will offer the most benefits.

What is a Frenum?

Big problems can come in small packages. Such is the case with a small piece of tissue known as a frenum, or frenulum. Your mouth isn’t the only stomping grounds for these frena (plural of frenum). The human body houses frena that reside in other areas.

Tissue that connects the lip to the gum is a labial frenum, or lip-tie. Frenulum connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is a lingual frenum or tongue-tie.

What is the Purpose of a Frenectomy?

The point of having a frenectomy is to give your tongue and/or lip(s) more range of motion. Your mouth can now be free from the tyranny of these ties! Improvements may now be seen in speech, oral hygiene, swallowing, eating, sleeping and dental health. Quality of life goes through the roof!

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Frenulum Issues in Adults

Frenectomies aren’t just for infants. Frenum don’t stop causing problems once you hit a certain age. You may have adapted to life with this hurdle. No prizes are given for suffering. There’s really no reason to keep grinning and bearing it.

Some reasons why frena are no friend to adults include:

  • Discomfort. Tongue-ties and lip-ties can be a source of constant irritation. Pain can even occur because of such a restriction. Headaches, jaw pain, muscle aches and neck pain can strike.
  • Eating. It’s hard to enjoy every bite to the fullest when your tongue’s tied down. Without being able to chew and swallow properly, the flavor is easily missed.
  • Lackluster Oral Health. It isn’t easy to reach around tight spaces to keep your teeth and gums clean. You’re vulnerable to both gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Sleep Issues. Limited movement may prevent you from getting enough shuteye. Mouth breathing begins when tongues can’t get out of the way. Snoring and sleep apnea can soon follow.
  • Speaking. Communicating clearly is hard enough. Don’t let your tongue stop you from saying what’s on your mind. Being unable to correctly sound out syllables can be a huge burden.

Jaw Pain

Your tongue and lower jaw connect by way of the frenulum. It’s no surprise then that the tongue and its position can influence the jaw. Pain may show up in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The outcome can be temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

When the jaw’s not happy, you’re not happy. The tongue being in the wrong place all the time could be a real pain in the neck. Aches may start in the jaw but can quickly spiral. Soon the head and neck become collateral damage.

Difficulty Eating

Picky eaters aren’t always made; sometimes they’re born. Given a choice between being able to enjoy a meal or choke on it, which would you prefer?

Good digestion requires chewing. Taking a shortcut can lead to constipation, gas, bloating and other issues. Swallowing air along with food can turn into a habit. The tongue can work its magic here, if allowed. As children move to solid foods, snug frena can make chewing tough.

Dental Health

Tight frena frown on oral hygiene. Easy maintenance isn’t always possible with lip-ties and tongue-ties. The same limitations that prevent your tongue and lips from moving freely can also help trap food. Over time these areas can lead to dental distress.


A tongue-tie can keep dentures from fitting properly. It’s hard to eat what you like when prosthetic teeth keep slipping. You may not feel at your best in social situations. Smiling shouldn’t be uncomfortable. Keep your frenulum in check with a frenectomy.

Difficulty Kissing

Tongue-ties can get in the way of affection. Smooching’s no fun when tongues can’t tangle freely. Don’t let your frenum be the boss of your love life.

Speech Issues

Speaking can be frustrating without your tongue’s assistance. A distinct lisp may be heard. Certain sounds don’t come out right. People may ask you to repeat yourself.

All this stress over the simple act of speaking can drag you down. It might seem easier to avoid speaking whenever possible. But confronting your frenulum could be the real solution.

Issues Playing Instruments

Lingual frena are masters at keeping tongues on a short leash. Hobbies can even be impacted. Being tongued-tied makes playing certain instruments much more challenging. Trumpets, clarinets, flutes, tubas and trombones are some instruments that can be harder to play.

Frenulum Issues in Children

Both conditions can impact kiddos. Luckily, lingual frena and labial frena can be corrected with a laser in minutes.

Lip-tie can cause:

  • Dental problems
  • Eating difficulties
  • Gag reflex while trying to eat certain foods
  • Gap between front two teeth
  • Poor nutrition
  • Snoring

Tongue-tie can cause:

  • Eating difficulties
  • Embarrassment from not being to be able to stick tongue out
  • Lousy oral health
  • Speaking difficulties
  • Trouble swallowing

Breastfeeding Issues

Tongued-tied babies can struggle to latch on and nurse. These infants may not get enough of nutritious mother’s milk with colostrum. Gaining weight can become difficult. Growth rate may not be where it should be.

Feeding time should be soothing for both mom and baby. An infant who repeatedly tries and fails to get breastmilk can get cranky. Moms can get discouraged when their little ones are unhappy. So much frustration over a simple piece of tissue can easily be solved at Smiles by Hanna.

Another issue involves swallowing. To do everything it’s capable of, the tongue must be able to move. Loosening the restricted frenum allows for easier swallowing. Gassiness and bloating may now improve too.

Difficulty Talking

Do you have a gift of gab? You may never know if your tongue is tied. It can prove irritating to try and pronounce sounds such as “d,” “l,” “r,” “s,” “t,” “th” and “z” when your frenulum is against you. Chatting with others may begin to feel like a chore.

Don’t dismay! There’s a better way! Having a frenulectomy done at Smiles by Hanna can get you back in the groove.

Food Texture

Foods of different textures may be especially bothersome. Not everything has the consistency of pudding. Lumpy, crunchy and/or gritty foods can cause particular concern. Without the tongue and lips to assist, coughing and/or gagging can occur. Messy eating may be unavoidable.

Receding Gums

Oddly enough, labial frena can cause gums to recede. Each frenulum can pull on your gum margin, sometimes in a gruff manner. As time goes by, your gums get stretched out from your teeth. The result is this form of gum disease.

A frenectomy may solve this issue. If the problem is more involved, a gum graft may be recommended as well. Dr. Mansoor can carefully examine your teeth and gums. A customized treatment plan can be created.

Three Indications for a Frenectomy

Unsure if you might need this procedure? There are a couple of tell-tale signs you’re an ideal candidate. You have a:

  1. Gap. Space between the two front teeth on the top row could indicate trouble.
  2. Lip-tie. The future looks grim for gums when frena keep tugging at your gum line. If left alone, lip-ties can cause gums to recede and ravage oral health.
  3. Tongue-tie. Your mouth depends on your tongue for help with eating, talking and swallowing. When the tongue is sidelined, lingual frena can be to blame.

Does my Child Need a Frenectomy?

As a parent, you want to make the right choices for your little one. But how do you know what’s right? Observe carefully. Is your child getting enough nutrition to thrive? Does your child seem to have trouble forming sounds?

You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to find an expert, like Dr. Mansoor. After a comprehensive exam at Smiles by Hanna, treatment can be determined. The weight is off your shoulders. Regardless of the outcome, you’ll leave with answers. You make the final call.

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