Objective: To see the relationship of the lingual frenum with speech and other oral functions, evaluating the surgical indications and the results of frenectomy.
Material and methods: In 1997 we operated 72 children with sublingual frenulum, a telephone questionnaire to the mothers of these patients was done, obtaining data about: age at surgery, professional reasons for referral, preoperative findings, pre-post operative speech therapy, place of surgery and type of anesthesia and mother's impression about the final result.
Results: Fifty valid questionnaires were obtained, the mean age at frenectomy was 3.03 years, 38% of children were sent due to speech problems, 60% due to some degree of tongue-tie and 2% due to dentofacial developmental anomalies. In 70% the patients were sent by a pediatrician and in 14% by a speech therapist. In 20% preoperative speech therapy was done and postoperatively in 30%. In 48% of cases, aged less than 2 years, speech was not possible to be evaluated. In the 11 cases with questionable results, a multidisciplinary reevaluation showed 7 cases with lingual dysfunction and poor tongue control, 4 cases with deglutitory anomalies and 3 cases with orofacial occlusal problems secondary to lingual dysfunction or altered oral habits.
Conclusions: The presence of a nondisturbing lingual frenulum does not justify its surgical section, the frenectomy is indicated only in presence of altered oro-lingual functions caused by the tongue-tie such as: speech problems, errors of bite and deglutition, lingual dysfunction and anomalous oral habits.