A frenulum is a small fold of tissue that restricts the movement of a mobile tissue or organ in the body. In the oral cavity, a frenulum can be found between the lips and the gums as well as one which attaches the tongue to the base of the mouth. It is not uncommon for it to get injured or torn and it always almost heals on its own, uneventfully without needing any medical attention. There are a few situations, however, which require a small surgical procedure to help repair the damage and prevent it from happening again.
The most common cause for a frenulum to get injured is trauma. This trauma can be due to almost anything from eating or drinking to over extending your tongue or a fall. Once a patient comes to the dentist with a torn frenulum, one of the things the doctor looks for is any other sign of trauma to the teeth, cheeks or jaw.
2. Sexual Abuse
More often than not, victim of sexual abuse are too scared to seek proper help and so it becomes the duty of doctors to always keep this possibility in the back of their minds. A torn frenulum, particularly in small children could be the sign of sexual abuse.
3. Tongue Tie
Another cause of a torn frenulum could be an anatomically short frenulum to begin with. This restricts the movements for a patient and can even interfere with proper speech development of a child. A lot of patients who have a short tongue frenulum end up developing a minor speech defect like a lisp.
Treatment For Trauma
A small rip or tear should stop bleeding in a couple of minutes, although it can start to bleed again as it is very difficult to keep that area of the mouth stable and immobile. If the bleeding stops and there is not too much pain associated then there really is not too much that needs to be done. A simple pain killer along with an anti bacterial mouthwash to prevent the area from getting infected is all that is needed.
The tongue has a lot of vital structures running close to it as well as through it, so if there is even a slight possibility of something more serious than a simple tear, then it is better not to take a chance and go in for a check-up. Some things that you might see in case the injury is more serious than anticipated is bleeding that does not stop and fills up your mouth, pain, difficulty in moving your tongue, numbness or even the impression that bits are missing.
Treatment For Tongue Tie
The treatment for tongue tie is a minor surgical procedure called frenectomy. This removes the attachment of the tongue from the underlying fibers and allows a full range of movement for the patient. This is highly recommended for patients who have a speech defect.
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