A frenum (also called frenulum) is a band of tissue that connects or holds down a part of the body such as the tongue, lip, or cheeks. The band of tissue connecting the lip to the gum tissue in front of the teeth is called the labial frenum, while the band connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is called the lingual frenum.
A diastema, or large space between the two front teeth may be caused by an unusually thick or tight labial frenum attached very low on the gums close to the teeth. Orthodontic treatment followed by a frenectomy can permanently correct this problem.
An unusually thick, large or tight lingual frenum can seriously constrict movement of the tongue and interfere with speech. This is often referred to being "tongue-tied."
A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure in which the band of tissue is excised. The procedure only takes a few minutes and is done using local anesthetic. The area usually requires suturing with a resorbable suture. Post-operative discomfort is minimal and generally over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, are all that is needed.