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Maxillary Labial Frenum and Frenectomy

The maxillary (upper jaw) labial frenum attaches the upper lip to the gums just above the upper two front teeth. If you move your tongue up between your upper lip and your teeth, you will feel this thin band of tissue.

A prominent (thick and low) maxillary labial frenum can cause a large gap to occur between the upper two front teeth. This can be huge aesthetic concern to most people. However, unless the frenum is causing a lot of pain on the upper lips and gums, immediate treatment is not always necessary. Treatment should be delayed until the upper permanent teeth have come in. Many times, the replacement of the baby teeth with permanent teeth will naturally close the gap between the two front teeth. If the gap doesn’t close, then it can be treated using braces, as is shown in the above photo.

If the teeth begin to drift apart again after braces have moved them together, then a maxillary labial frenectomy should be considered if it is determined to be contributing factor. While undergoing orthodontic treatment, a maxillary labial frenectomy should not be attempted before the gap is closed because scar tissue can form making it more difficult to eliminate the space between the upper two front teeth.

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