A frenum is a naturally occurring muscle attachment, normally seen between the front teeth (either upper or lower). It connects the inner aspect of the lip with the gum. A lack of attached gingiva, in conjunction with a high (closer to the biting surface) frenum attachment, which exaggerates the pull on the gum margin, can result in recession and periodontal problems.
Additionally, an excessively large frenum can prevent the teeth from coming together, resulting in a gap (diastema) between the front teeth. If pulling is seen or the frenum is too large to allow the teeth to come together, the frenum is surgically released from the gum with a frenectomy. A frenectomy is simply the surgical removal of a frenum.
When orthodontic treatment is planned or initiated, the removal of an abnormal frenum, with or without a gingival graft, can increase stability and improve success of the final orthodontic result.
Everyone has a Lingual Frenum, a naturally occurring attachment of the tongue tip and the floor of the mouth. Occasionally, this attachment can be short, attached close to the tongue tip or high on the inner gums limiting the movement of the tongue.
Limitations of the tongue movements are exhibited by a notching of the tongue tip and/or a curling of the tongue tip downwards when sticking out the tongue. In younger children, it can alter speech and a speech pathologist or pediatrician may recommend its release. A lingual frenectomy procedure can usually be performed under local anesthesia but may require general anesthesia in apprehensive patients or young infant.