An Unfriendly Frenum: Your Frenum Could Be Causing Your Gums to Recede

Dentist Blog

Did you know that the human face has 43 muscles? Together, they allow you to make a wide range of facial expressions. Of course, one of the most popular is the smile, an expression that requires 26 of those muscles.

Each muscle is attached to bone and the surrounding tissues by fibrous cords of tissue. These keep the muscles from moving around too much. In the human mouth, there are three such anchors. One anchors the tongue in place and is known as the lingual frenum, and the other two anchor the upper and lower lips. These two are each called labial frenums. Though it is their job to anchor your upper and lower lips, restricting their movement, they can sometimes be too tight or too short.

A Short or Tight Frenum Causes Gum Recession

Under normal circumstances, the labial frena (plural for frenum) are attached to the gum tissue above or below the gap that separates the two teeth. In this position, the gums provide adequate anchorage that helps the frenum to control the movement of the lips. However, in some cases, the frena are either too high or too tight.

When a frenum is too high or too tight, it pulls at the gum tissue covering the teeth. Gradually, the pulling force exerted by the frenum causes the gums to pull away from the teeth they should be protecting. Not only is this an aesthetic issue, but it is also an urgent health issue, as receded gums expose the roots of teeth and leave them at the mercy of tooth decay.

A Frenectomy Can Correct a Tight or Short Frenum

Although you might shiver at the sound of such a word, a frenectomy is a simple and relatively painless procedure. Basically, during the surgery, the oral surgeon either removes the frenum altogether or clips it and repositions it. This can be done with a scalpel and scissors or using laser surgery. The procedure takes a few minutes to complete, whichever tool is used.

Dentists do tend to prefer to use laser surgery when doing a frenectomy since there is less bleeding and only minor tissue damage. Either way, within two weeks, the wound should be healed. If spotted early enough, for example, in a child of a few years old, a frenectomy can be carried out before gum recession occurs.

Are your frena causing your gums to pull away from your teeth? Get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible. Gum recession leaves the roots of teeth at risk of developing cavities. 


21 November 2017

Dental Checkups: Preparing for Your Checkup

Hi! My name is Sarah, and as a busy professional, I understand the importance of making the most of my time. That includes everything from having productive working lunches to making the most of my dental checkups. I have created this blog to help you maximise your dental checkups. In these posts, you can learn how to prepare for your checkup, which questions to ask during your checkup and more. I am also going to have posts explaining why checkups are critical to your dental health as well as the health of your entire body. Happy reading, and thanks for visiting my blog!