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Frenulectomy (frenectomy, frenotomy) or frenuloplasty (011)

Number: 011


Subject: Frenulectomy (frenectomy, frenotomy) or frenuloplasty


Date: August 16, 2023


Important note


This Clinical Policy Bulletin determines whether certain services or supplies are medically necessary, experimental, and investigational, or cosmetic. Aetna® has reached these conclusions based upon a review of currently available clinical information (including clinical outcome studies in the peer-reviewed published medical literature, regulatory status of the technology, evidence -based guidelines of public health and health research agencies, evidence-based guidelines and positions of leading national health professional organizations, views of physicians practicing in relevant clinical areas, and other relevant factors).


Aetna makes no representations and accepts no liability with respect to the content of any external information cited or relied upon in the Bulletin.  The discussion, analysis, conclusions, and positions reflected in this Bulletin, including any reference to a specific provider, product, process or service by name, trademark, manufacturer, constitute an opinion by Aetna and are made without any intent to defame.


Aetna expressly reserves the right to revise these conclusions as clinical information changes, and welcomes further relevant information including correction of any factual error. CPBs include references to standard HIPAA compliant code sets to assist with search functions and to facilitate billing and payment for covered services. New and revised codes are added to the CPBs as they are updated. When billing, you must use the most appropriate code as of the effective date of the submission. Unlisted, unspecified and nonspecific codes should be avoided. 


Each benefits plan defines which services are covered, excluded and subject to dollar caps or other limits. Members and their dentists will need to consult the member's benefits plan to determine if any exclusions or other benefits limitations apply to this service or supply. 


The conclusion that a particular service or supply is medically necessary does not guarantee that this service or supply is covered (that is, will be paid for by Aetna) for a particular member. The member's benefits plan determines coverage. Some plans exclude coverage for services or supplies that we consider medically necessary. If there is a discrepancy between this policy and a member's plan of benefits, the benefits plan will govern. In addition, coverage may be mandated by applicable legal requirements of a state, the federal government or CMS for Medicare and Medicaid members.


Visit the CMS coverage database




Aetna considers this surgical procedure to be dental-in-nature (DIN) oral surgery. Coverage may be available for DIN oral surgical procedures under either medical or dental plans.



The frenum is a restraining structure consisting of connective tissue covered by a mucous membrane that attaches the cheek, lips and/or tongue to the associated dental mucosa. The frenum may be excised when the tongue has limited mobility and is diagnosed as ankyloglossia (tongue-tied); when the frenum is contributing to a large diastema (space) between teeth; when the frenum is interfering with a prosthetic appliance; or when it is contributing to the etiology of periodontal disease and/or to recession of the gingival tissue.


Methods of excising a frenum include frenulectomy (frenectomy, frenotomy) and frenuloplasty. The frenulectomy procedure involves a simple excision or removal of a wedge section of the frenum. 


A common type of frenectomy is a lingual frenectomy. This procedure is performed on patients who have been diagnosed with ankyloglossia. In these individuals, the frenum attachment of the tongue is attached to the lower jaw in such a position that it prevents unrestricted movement of the tongue and typically affects speech. The procedure involves inferior repositioning of the attachment of the lingual frenum to enhance protrusive and lateral movement of the tongue and subsequent improvement of speech and deglutition.


Frenulectomy (Frenectomy, Frenotomy) may be considered incidental to a soft tissue graft procedure. When a frenulectomy is done at the same time/same surgery as soft tissue grafting, the frenulectomy is considered inclusive to soft tissue grafting. When performed separately, it is considered a separate procedure.




D4277 – Free soft tissue graft procedure (including recipient and donor surgical sites) first tooth, implant, or edentulous tooth position in graft
D4273 – autogenous connective tissue graft procedure (including donor and recipient surgical sites) first tooth, implant or edentulous tooth position in graft
D4275 – non-autogenous connective tissue graft (including recipient site and donor material) first tooth, implant, or edentulous tooth position in graft
D7961 – Frenulectomy – buccal/labial frenectomy
D7962 – Frenulectomy – lingual frenectomy
D7963 – Frenuloplasty - Excision of frenum with accompanying excision or repositioning of aberrant muscle and z-plasty or other local flap closure

40806 – Incision of labial frenum (frenotomy)
40819 – Excision of frenum, labial or buccal (frenumectomy, frenulectomy, frenectomy)
41010 – Incision of lingual frenum (frenotomy)
41115 – Excision of lingual frenum (frenectomy)
41520 – Frenoplasty (surgical revision of frenum, for example, with Z-plasty)

Refer to Medical Clinical Policy Bulletin #116 – Frenulectomy for Ankyloglossia


Revision dates


Original: November 22, 2005
Updated: November 28, 2007, December 29, 2008; December 21, 2009; February 28, 2011; April 9, 2012; April 30, 2013; April 17, 2014; March 7, 2016; March 15, 2017; April 26, 2018; May 6, 2020; October 28, 2021; October 12, 2022; August 16, 2023
Revised: November 20, 2006; December 21, 2009


The above policy is based on the following references:


American Dental Association. CDT 2023 Dental Procedure Codes.


American Medical Association. Current procedural terminologyCPT 2021. Chicago, IL: American Medical Association, 2020. Internet resource.


Copyright 2023 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. 


Property of Aetna. All rights reserved. Dental Clinical Policy Bulletins are developed by Aetna to assist in administering plan benefits and constitute neither offers of coverage nor medical/dental advice. This Dental Clinical Policy Bulletin contains only a partial, general description of plan or program benefits and does not constitute a contract. Aetna does not provide health care services and, therefore, cannot guarantee any results or outcomes. Participating health care professionals are independent contractors in private practice and are neither employees nor agents of Aetna or its affiliates. Treating health care professionals are solely responsible for medical/dental advice and treatment of members. This Clinical Policy Bulletin may be updated and therefore is subject to change.

Legal notices

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Health benefits and health insurance plans contain exclusions and limitations.

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