What is a Fiberotomy?
The tooth is held in the jaw by thousands of tiny microscopic ligaments that go from the tooth to the bone (much like the cords that support a hammock). When the tooth is moved during orthodontic treatment, these tiny ligaments tend to stretch like tiny rubber bands. When the braces are removed, the stretched ligaments may pull the tooth back to the position before the braces. Not good!
Fiberotomy-“otomy” means to detach. Therefore, a fiberotomy is the procedure which detaches some of the tooth-bone ligaments. A very small instrument is inserted between the gum and the tooth (the gums are numbed before the procedure) and some of the ligaments are detached. The tiny ligaments then reattach to the tooth without being stretched. This helps keep the tooth in position after the braces are removed.
Doesn’t this weaken the tooth?
No! Only a small number of the total ligaments are detached. Those detached then reattach in just a few days. This is a procedure that is performed with high powered magnification (very tiny things).
Does the procedure change the gums?
No! Only the ligaments between the gum and the tooth are changed and these cannot be seen on the outside.
What must I do?
After the procedure, you eat normally and brush and floss as you normally do. Told you this was a small but important procedure! The braces must stay on for three weeks so the ligaments can fully heal, then can be removed by the orthodontist or dentist.