Tongue and lip frenectomy in Spanish medical texts of the 16th-18th centuries

J Hist Dent. Summer-Fall 2012;60(2):85-9.


The frena of the tongue and lip are normal structures of the buccal cavity, and surgical resection is only necessary in cases of hypertrophy. This article looks at medical texts of the Early Modern Era to analyze the origins and quality of our knowledge on this topic and examine any therapeutic measures proposed. This review shows that while the indications for carrying out tongue frenectomy are very similar to those today (speech and breastfeeding difficulties), those for carrying out a lip frenectomy are very different. Interestingly, apart from purely surgical or medicinal treatments, some authors indicated the need to complement such treatment with educational intervention and what can only be called basic speech therapy.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • Labial Frenum / surgery*
  • Lingual Frenum / surgery*
  • Reference Books, Medical*
  • Spain