Kyle Harmon, DDS.| Wesley Wilcox, DDS. | (801) 544-9777

Other procedures

Frenectomy

A frenectomy is the removal of a frenum, a muscular attachment between two tissues, that causes pain or deformities in the mouth.  There are two types of frena (plural of frenum) in the mouth, the labial frenum that connects the lips to the gums and the lingual frenum that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth.  The lingual frenum (between gums and lips) can cause a large gap to occur between the upper two front teeth.  In some cases it can also cause a child pain when opening their mouth for normal functions such as eating or speaking.  The lingual frenum that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth can sometimes run all the way to the tip of the tongue, causing a person to be “tongue-tied.”

upper-frenectomy

A frenectomy is an easy procedure that involves numbing the area and creating a small incision in the frenum.  We use laser technology to cut the frenum, resulting in a more painless and quicker recovery afterwards.  This is because the laser instantly cauterizes the area eliminating the need for stitches.  A frenectomy is only necessary if the frenum in question is causing pain, impeding normal function, or creating spaces between teeth.

Extractions

There may be times when an extraction of a tooth (typically a baby tooth) is necessary.  The most common reason to extract a baby tooth is over crowding
in the mouth or for orthodontic purposes.  The ultimate goal is to have aligned teeth and if it is apparent in early years that the baby teeth will cause problems with p
ermanent teeth growing in then it is optimal to have them extracted.  Pulling baby teeth before they start to crowd in your child’s mouth will help reduce complicated orthodontic treatment in later years.  Extracting teeth when braces are necessary is often common as well.

Other reasons to extract baby teeth may include injury to the tooth or severely decayed teeth that cannot be repaired with a filling or a crown.  A space maintainer is placed to help prevent permanent teeth from drifting into the extraction sites.

Space maintainers 

If a baby tooth is lost or extracted earlier than it was supposed to there may be a need for a space maintainer.  Baby teeth act as a guide for permanent teeth and if they are lost before the permanent tooth begins to erupt that tooth loses its guide and may grow in the wrong position.  The other surrounding teeth may also begin to crowd in and there will not be enough room for the permanent tooth to grow in.  A space maintainer is a device to help keep the open space available for the permanent tooth to grown in.  There are a few different types of space maintainers.  A fixed maintainer is typically made of steel or plastic and is cemented onto adjacent teeth to keep the open space.  A removable maintainer looks like a retainer and uses artificial teeth or plastic blocks to fill in the space.