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Frenulectomy in Adults


What you need to know about frenulectomy:

Frenulectomy is surgery to remove a small piece of tissue called the frenulum. You may need surgery if the frenulum attached to the center of your upper lip is too thick and causes a large gap between your teeth. This can lead to your gums being pulled too far off your teeth (called gum recession). You may also need this surgery if you have dentures that move because the frenulum pulls them out of place. Less commonly, the frenulum under your tongue may need to be removed. This surgery is more common in children. You may need this surgery if you had tongue-tie as a child that was not corrected and is causing speech problems.

How to prepare for surgery:

Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare for surgery. The provider may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of surgery. The provider will tell you which medicines to take or not take before surgery. You may get an antibiotic through your IV to prevent a bacterial infection.

What will happen during surgery:

You will get local anesthesia to numb the area. You will be awake, but you should not feel pain. Your healthcare provider will hold your tongue or lip out of the way. The frenulum and some tissue around it will be cut with medical scissors, a laser, or an electrocautery device. This device is a needle that is heated by electricity. After the tissue is removed, the incision will be closed with stitches or with heat from the laser or device.

What to expect after surgery:

You may have some mild pain, swelling, or bleeding after surgery. This is normal and should stop in a few days. If you received stitches, they will dissolve on their own. It may be painful or difficult for you to swallow after surgery, but it is important to drink liquids. Liquids help prevent dehydration. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Risks of frenulectomy:

You may bleed more than expected during surgery.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have signs of dehydration. Examples include more thirst than usual, dry skin or lips, and urinating little or not at all.
  • You have bleeding from your stitches that is heavy, does not stop, or causes you to choke.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have problems swallowing food.
  • You have problems saying some words or speaking.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics help prevent or treat a bacterial infection.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Prevent dehydration:

It may be painful to swallow after surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about the amount of liquid you need each day. Liquids help prevent dehydration. The provider may be able to suggest ways to make swallowing more comfortable.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Frenulectomy in Adults (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.