A frenum is a naturally occurring muscle attachment, normally seen between the front teeth (either upper or lower). It connects the inner aspect of the lip with the gum.
A lack of attached gingiva, in conjunction with a high (closer to the biting surface) frenum attachment, which exaggerates the pull on the gum margin, can result in recession. Additionally, an excessively large or high frenum attachment can prevent the teeth from coming together resulting in a gap between the front teeth. If pulling is seen or the frenum is too large to allow the teeth to come together, the frenum is surgically released from the gum with a frenectomy. A frenectomy is simply the surgical removal of a frenum. Discomfort from this procedure is often minimal and can be treated with over-the-counter medication.
When Orthodontic (braces) treatment is planned or initiated, the removal of an abnormal frenum, with or without a gingival graft, can increase stability and improve success of the final orthodontic result. Braces are not always needed in conjunction with a frenectomy.