I am constantly amazed at how quickly time flies. I can't believe it's already time for another Ask the Dentist question from Family Dental Care Park Ridge! Today's question reminded me just how important it is to make sure that all of your questions are answered fully by your healthcare professional...never ever feel embarrassed about asking questions or asking for clarification. Here's why...
"We just got back from taking our daughter to the dentist and I am feeling very silly. The dentist told us that our daughter needs to have some minor surgery to cut something in her mouth that is preventing her front teeth from closing together. The word sounded like "frem-otomy" or something like that. I nodded my head as if I understood what he was saying but, I really had no idea. Do you know what he was talking about?"
First of all...let me reiterate...never, ever feel silly about asking for clarification. Sometimes healthcare professionals get caught up in their "lingo" and forget that the patient probably has no idea what some of those words mean. Leaving without completely understanding what was said to you leads to misconceptions and misinformation. That said, let's talk about what your dentist probably was referring to.
What your daughter may need is called a frenectomy. The frenulum (or frenum) is that thin piece of tissue just under your upper lip that seems to almost attach the inside of the upper lip to the top part of your gums. In most people, it is a total non-event. In some people, however, the frenum may attach farther down on the gum so that it almost attaches right between the top two front teeth. When this happens, it can sometimes prevent the top two front teeth from coming together all of the way, leaving a space between them. By having the frenum snipped, it allows the teeth to move (or be moved orthodontically) closer together so that there is no gap. (Note: frenums are not the only reason that some people have gaps between their teeth.) The "snipping" of the frenum is a fast, painless and easy procedure. The area is numbed and the frenum is simply cut to effectively release the connection between the gums and the lip. Laser surgery may also be used to achieve the same result. The healing is usually quick and uneventful.
I hope this helps to clear things up a little. To make sure that this was, indeed, what your dentist was talking about, it would be a good idea to give your dentist's office a call to have them explain again what it was that they were suggesting for your daughter.
I get excited every time I see a new question drop into our inbox so keep sending your dental questions our way. You can email us at info@ParkRidgeDDS.com and we will try to get your questions answered in our Ask the Dentist feature as soon as possible.
And remember, as always...we LOVE making you smile!
This post was previously seen on our website here!