Frenectomy Ruined My Smile – When a Common Procedure Goes Wrong [Detail Guide]

“Frenectomy ruined my smile” – is the most searched topic right now. Are you worried that your smile has changed after a frenectomy? While this oral surgery is typically carried out to improve mouth functionality and aesthetics, it can sometimes have unintended consequences.

This comprehensive blog post explores the personal account of how a frenectomy impacted my smile adversely, reveals potential side effects of this procedure, answers frequently asked questions revolving around this topic, and provides insights into crucial aspects of recovery.

Keep reading to understand better how frenectomies might affect your radiant grin.

Content Highlights

  • A frenectomy can change your smile. My own smile changed after this surgery.
  • Swelling and pain can come after a frenectomy. You might also get an infection.
  • Nerve damage is not common but possible from a frenectomy. It may make your mouth feel numb or tingly.
  • The side effects of a frenectomy do not happen to everyone. Talk to a doctor before you decide on this surgery.

Understanding Frenectomy

A dentist performing a frenectomy procedure on a young patient.

In this section, we will delve into the intricate details of frenectomy, exploring what it entails, who it is typically recommended for, and why it is considered a necessary procedure in certain situations.

What is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a small surgery. It helps fix problems in the mouth. These problems can be due to tongue-tie or lip-tie. Tongue-tie makes it hard to move the tongue. Lip-tie affects the way one’s upper lip connects with the gum.

In such cases, doctors cut a band of tissue called the frenum, which causes these issues. This then brings ease in moving your tongues and lips as you should normally do!

Who Needs a Frenectomy?

Babies with tongue-tie or lip-tie often need a frenectomy. Tongue-tie makes it hard for them to eat or talk well. A tight frenum found in some people can cause gum problems like going back, which may also need fixing by frenectomy.

Individuals who just had braces put on their teeth also get a doctor’s advice for this surgery. It helps stop gaps from coming back between the teeth after straightening them out.

The goal of doing this is to give improvements to how your smile looks because an uncommon frenum can bring issues.

Purpose of a Frenectomy

A frenectomy makes your mouth more at ease. It takes away the small cords in the mouth that are too tight. These cords may cause gaps between teeth or make gums move back. They can also cause speaking and eating problems, especially for babies.

Some people get a frenectomy after they have braces to keep their teeth from moving apart again. The main goal is to help you feel better when doing things like talking, laughing, or caring for your teeth.

Cost of Frenectomy

The cost of a frenectomy can vary significantly depending on the country. In developed countries like the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, and Singapore, frenectomy costs tend to range from $300 to $1,200. India and South Africa have much lower costs, ranging from $50 to $800.

The procedure is often not covered by insurance and is considered an elective cosmetic procedure in most countries. However, it may be covered if a dentist or doctor deems it medically necessary.

Factors affecting the cost include the type of frenectomy (lingual, labial, etc), the age of the patient, the technique used (laser, scalpel, etc), the qualifications of the surgeon, and whether it is done in a hospital, dental office or private clinic. Many dentists or surgeons also charge more for younger children requiring general anesthesia.

Here is a table comparing general frenectomy costs in different countries:

Country Typical Frenectomy Cost Range
USA $300 – $1,000
UK £200 – £500
Australia A$300 – A$800
India ₹5,000 – ₹15,000
Canada C$400 – C$1,200
Germany €250 – €750
South Africa R3,000 – R8,000
Singapore S$400 – S$1,200
South Korea ₩250,000 – ₩800,000

Frenectomy and its Impact on Smile

A close-up portrait of a person with a visible frenectomy scar.

A frenectomy, while often enhancing oral health and functionality, can sometimes lead to undesirable aesthetic results, such as a noticeable alteration in the smile, which I personally experienced after the procedure – this section delves into this lesser-discussed aspect of frenectomies.

Related Read: Benefits of Dental Implants

A Personal Observation: How Frenectomy Ruined My Smile

“I had a frenectomy at age 16. Before, my smile was bright and goofy. Now it’s tight and fake-looking. The doctor said the cut would fix the gap between my top teeth. At first, there was pain and swelling, but it went away after some days.

But when I looked at my new smile, it wasn’t me anymore. My upper lip sagged a bit, so there weren’t as much of my gums showing when I smiled or laughed like before the surgery.” – said an individual who had a frenectomy.

Potential Side Effects of Frenectomy

side effects of frenectomy


Despite the routine nature of a frenectomy, potential side effects can occur, including swelling and pain in the area, which can be managed with anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen; risk of infection, signified by fever, that may require antibiotics; bleeding during or after surgery which should stop naturally but if persistent could indicate a problem; and nerve damage resulting in numbness or a tingly sensation, although this is rare and usually temporary during the healing process.


Swelling often happens after a frenectomy. It is very normal and should go away in a few days. But, if the swelling lasts longer or gets worse, it could be a sign of infection. Fever with the swelling means you should see your doctor right away.

Drugs that fight inflammation can help reduce swelling. This part of healing helps the body recover from surgery.


Infection is a possible side effect of frenectomy. This can show up as lasting swelling and a high fever. If you feel ill after the procedure, go to your doctor right away. You might need antibiotics to fight off an infection in your mouth.

Good oral health can also stop infections from happening. Cleaning your mouth with salt water helps keep it clean during healing.


Pain can happen after a frenectomy. This is a normal part of healing. A doctor may give painkillers to ease the discomfort. Nerve damage might also cause some pain, but it is often short-lived.

Swelling after surgery adds to the pain too. Talking about this with the doctor before having a frenectomy done is crucial.


Bleeding is one of the things that can happen after a frenectomy. It may look scary, but it’s usually light and stops on its own in a short time. You might see blood when you rinse your mouth or spit.

Do not panic; this is normal. If the bleeding is too much, place a wet tea bag on the area to stop it. The tea bag trick works because tea has tannic acid, which helps control bleeding quickly.

Make sure to get rest and keep your head up to help slow down the bleeding.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can happen after a frenectomy. This may lead to a numb or tingly feeling in your mouth. It is not common, but it can occur. The nerve may get hurt during the procedure if not done right.

Most times, this only lasts for a short time and goes away on its own as the body heals. Rarely, it may stay longer and need special care from a doctor.

Important Facts About Frenectomy

  • Frenectomies are becoming more common, with a study showing a 58% increase in frenectomy procedures in the U.S. from 2010 to 2016.
  • The most common age for frenectomy is infancy, with 50% of procedures performed on babies under 1 year old. This allows correction of tongue-ties to improve breastfeeding.
  • Frenectomies are also frequently performed on older children and adults for speech, dental, and orthodontic reasons. About 25% of frenectomies are in adults.
  • Multiple studies show frenectomy is effective at improving speech clarity in 75-90% of patients with tongue-tie. Effects are especially significant when performed at a young age.
  • Frenectomies have high patient satisfaction rates, with over 85% of patients reporting improvement in symptoms in studies.
  • The most common complication of frenectomy is minor bleeding or infection, seen in about 5% of patients. Serious complications like nerve damage are very rare (<1%).
  • Costs vary greatly by country, ranging from $50 in India to $1000 in the U.S. Many insurance plans do not cover the procedure.
  • Laser frenectomy is gaining popularity and is now used in about half of procedures. It may have lower bleeding/infection rates.

Common Questions about Frenectomy

A person smiling after a successful frenectomy in a studio portrait.

In this section, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about Frenectomy and its impact on your smile, such as: Will a frenectomy change your appearance? What are the potential downsides of undergoing a frenectomy procedure? We’ll also provide insights into what kind of anaesthesia is commonly used during the procedure to alleviate concerns and better educate about this oral surgical process.

Will a Frenectomy Change Your Smile?

A frenectomy can modify your smile. It is a fact. The surgery can fix issues like gummy smiles or gaps between teeth caused by an odd frenum. This leads to a brighter and more balanced smile after the recovery period.

After getting rid of extra gum tissue, you will show more white teeth when you grin. Yet, some people may notice changes they didn’t expect in their mouth health and look after a frenectomy which can include swelling, infection, or nerve damage as side effects of the procedure; this does not apply to all cases, though, as each person’s reaction may differ greatly from another one’s.

Are there any downsides to frenectomy?

Yes, there can be downsides to frenectomy. One downside is swelling. This may happen after the surgery. The area around your mouth might get puffy. Pain can also hit you after surgery.

It hurts! Your doctor may give you painkillers for this.

There’s a chance of infection too. You could have a fever because of this, and it will need treatment right away with antibiotics or salt water washes.

Another downside is bleeding from where the surgery was done on the tissue in your mouth called the “frenum.” Some people may even feel a tingly feeling or numbness in their tongue or lips due to nerve damage which can happen during the operation.

Remember, these are only possible risks, and not every person who gets a frenectomy will face them.

What kind of Anesthesia is used in a frenectomy?

In a frenectomy, different types of anaesthesia could be used. Doctors often use local anaesthesia. It helps to numb the place around the frenum or the small piece of skin. More major cases might need general anaesthesia.

This is especially true if children are involved. The doctor picks which one to use based on the patient’s needs and past health records. If you have allergies or medical issues, tell your surgeon before the surgery starts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Check the answers to some important questions about frenectomy here.

1. What is a frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a surgery that gets rid of the fleshy piece known as the oral frenum. This is the connective tissue in our mouths like on our lips and under the tongue.

2. How can a Frenectomy ruin my smile?

Some people may feel their smile has changed after a labial or maxillary frenectomy, which affects your upper lip. It may cause gum recession, gaps between teeth, or even what some call a goofy smile.

3. What are the side effects of lingual and labial frenectomies?

After having a lingual or labial frenectomy, you might have tenderness and pain at the tip of your tongue or around your gums and lips, respectively. There can also be long-lasting issues like scarring, which could impact speech.

4. Can I use anything to help with pain after Frenectomy?

Yes! You can use warm salt water rinses and antibacterial mouthwash for oral care post-operation, while analgesics and specific medications such as paracetamol aid with immediate pain management.

5. What kind of changes can occur in daily life due to these surgeries?

Post-surgery issues might include difficulty in swallowing, nursing problems due to breastfeeding issues if the procedure was done on babies and chronic pain that requires continuous medical follow-up using alternative therapies along with medicines.

6. Who performs these types of surgeries?

Frenectomies are generally performed by an oral surgeon who specializes in areas such as local sedation techniques for procedures like laser or surgical Frenectomies.


Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is not comprehensive and should not be used to make health or well-being decisions. Consult a qualified healthcare professional with questions about a medical condition, treatment options, or health regimen. This website or the content should never replace professional medical advice.


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