Skin thing in my mouth
September 3, 2014 8:32 AM   Subscribe

I was at the dentist this morning, my first appointment with this particular dentist. She told me that the little skin connector between my gum and upper lip is particularly tight, and it's gradually pulling my two front teeth apart. She says it's easily snipped with a laser. I've never heard of such a thing and I'm kind of mystified that no other dentist has brought this to my attention.

I'm interested in knowing more about it but I don't remember what she called it. Has anyone heard of this? Any experiences? I'm definitely going for it (unless you all tell me it's a scam and to run for the hills, which I doubt, she seems on the up and up) but I was just wondering what other peoples' experiences were.
posted by bleep to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've had this offered before but never taken them up on it; it's to prevent or cure a gap between the two front teeth, and my tooth gap doesn't bother me. I don't remember what they called the procedure, but it was supposed to be relatively quick and painless.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:35 AM on September 3, 2014

Best answer: I believe it's called a frenectomy. I had mine snipped long ago, in the dinosaur times before laser surgery, by an oral surgeon. I had put in a lot of time and money into braces, and at that point if I didn't have it done, the braces would have been worthless.

Basically, if you're ok with the gap, then it's elective. I'd consider mine to have been "cosmetic" even though it was a decision I made in conjunction with my orthodontist as a teenager.
posted by librarianamy at 8:37 AM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh wow, thanks for the info! I am definitely getting this done! My teeth have enough problems, I don't need to add one more into the mix. I updated the tags for future reference.
posted by bleep at 8:43 AM on September 3, 2014

Yep. My sister had it done when she was five (also long before lasers). For a little while afterwards she just had to wear a rubber band around her top front teeth to make sure they didn't go crooked (although this might also have been because she was a child and her adult teeth were all still coming in).
posted by tully_monster at 8:47 AM on September 3, 2014

I had this done as a kid (before lasers) so that the gap in my teeth could be closed. You'll be amazed how much space there is under your upper lip!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:48 AM on September 3, 2014

Had this done as a kid, too. Helped with braces and tooth gap issue. No issues.
posted by Lescha at 8:58 AM on September 3, 2014

Same here, as a kid. The only thing I remember is having to keep a padded thing between my upper lip and gum for a few days as it started to heal.
posted by telophase at 9:03 AM on September 3, 2014

The only con I could think of is that you won't be able to get a smiley.

posted by fiercecupcake at 9:19 AM on September 3, 2014

I had this done when I was little and the pain was fantastically traumatic, but I was 6 and my mom refused to give me opiate painkillers so I assume it will not be as bad for you.
posted by elizardbits at 9:47 AM on September 3, 2014

Oh, but I didn't have mine snipped, I had it removed entirely and replaced much higher up inside my lip.
posted by elizardbits at 9:48 AM on September 3, 2014

Best answer: Re: "snip," quick, painless...I'm sure mileage varies with how much tissue actually needs to go, but I would put my frenectomy on the same level as, say, a couple of wisdom teeth. I saw no different when it was my daughter's turn not that long ago.
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:22 AM on September 3, 2014

elizardbits, that's exactly what happened to me! Mom refused to let me take painkillers. The pain was awful and I have not forgiven her for that - seriously, do you think the vanishingly tiny chance that a ten-year-old is going to become addicted to opiates is worth putting your child through this pain? I'm now 60 and I've taken many, many opiate-derived painkillers for dental procedures - still not an addict, Mom!

Make sure you get painkillers!
posted by caryatid at 10:32 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I had this done when I was in my thirties, already had a gap growing between my front teeth. I don't remember it being particularly painful. One result is that I show less gum when I smile.
posted by mareli at 10:55 AM on September 3, 2014

Best answer: I had it done with a laser, under my tongue. Didn't hurt at all.
posted by fshgrl at 11:38 AM on September 3, 2014

Had mine done as a young teenager, so maybe 15 years ago? It was mildly sore afterwards but I do not recall if mine was lasered off or actually cut with an instrument/scalpel/etc. I did not need or take opiate painkillers - just Advil. I had a bandage of sorts over the procedure site that looked like I had a piece of pink bubble gum stuck to my upper gums, but otherwise, no problem. I believe the bandage stayed on for several days, then fell off. I went right back to school with no downtime (I think I had it done in the afternoon, then returned to school the next morning). I still have a rather gummy smile, but it's not as bad as it was before the procedure.
posted by pecanpies at 12:47 PM on September 3, 2014

I had this done when I was about 9 - it's definitely a real thing. My surgery was less high-tech (cut and stitches) and it allowed my orthodontist to close up the gap in my front teeth. I remember my lip being sore for a couple days, and it especially hurt to smile or laugh, but it was a really minor procedure (orders of magnitude less painful / easier to recover from than, say, impacted wisdom teeth removal, if you've had that done). Not a huge deal and it didn't affect my appearance in any meaningful way either.
posted by augustimagination at 12:52 PM on September 3, 2014

I also had this done as a child, snipped and stitched, but I don't remember much about it, probably because I was having a root canal done about the same time and that was much more traumatic. My youngest son had both a lip tie and tongue tie released by laser when he was four months old. His recovery was a little gross (yay wet scabs) but otherwise smooth. The first 48 hours or so were the worst for him as far as pain seemed.
posted by percolatrix at 2:24 PM on September 3, 2014

My son had this done at about 8 months of age, along with lasering his tongue tie. It was painful during the procedure but he wasn't fussy past the first day.
They will (or should, at least) prescribe some stretching and aftercare for it. Keep up on it or it will just grow back together. My SIL was much more conscientious about it with my nephew than I was with DS and you can really tell the difference.
DS's top teeth were coming in REALLLLY far apart and they have since straightened out in the three months since the procedure. Good luck!
posted by checkitnice at 3:44 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older NYC-based coach to help with confidence in...   |   Abstinence... how does it work for adults? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.